Desert Hearts

Montana Film Festival Presents a monthly offering in modern & classic independent cinema, culminating in a 4-day festival October 5th - 8th. Keep up with MTFF at montanafilmfestival.org


Donna Deitch’s swooning and sensual first film, Desert Hearts, was groundbreaking upon its 1986 release: a love story about two women, produced and directed by a woman. In the 1959-set film, an adaptation of a beloved novel by Jane Rule, straitlaced East Coast professor Vivian Bell (Helen Shaver) arrives in Reno to file for divorce, but winds up catching the eye of someone new, the younger free spirit Cay (Patricia Charbonneau), touching off a slow seduction that unfolds against the breathtaking desert landscape. With smoldering chemistry between its two leads, an evocative jukebox soundtrack, and vivid cinematography by Robert Elswit, Desert Hearts beautifully exudes a sense of tender yearning and emotional candor.

Desert Hearts was awarded Special Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival in 1985.





Desert Hearts



Screening Times

Hosted By Montana Film Festival

Film Info

Donna Deitch, 1985, 96 minutes, R

Genre: Drama, Romance
Cast Members: Helen Shaver, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley