An Affair of the Heart: Film Review

An Affair of the Heart Poster Art - P 2012

An Affair of the Heart Poster Art - P 2012

Minor curio about Rick Springfield's devoted fan base has less weight than a VH1 "Behind the Music" special.

Pop star Rick Springfield's obsessive fans are the subject of Sylvia Caminer's documentary.

An Affair of the Heart, Sylvia Caminer’s film about Rick Springfield, is a hagiographic documentary with a particularly sly twist. It focuses not so much on the pop singer/actor who achieved chart success with such infectious hit singles as “Jessie’s Girl” and “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” but rather on his obsessive fans who have clearly not let the passage of time diminish their adulation.

The result is more promotional film — Springfield happens to have recently released both a new album and an autobiography — than intriguing sociology, although the rabidly intense middle-aged female fans on display are probably deserving of psychological study.

Springfield, looking remarkably well-preserved at 63, does prove to be an affable screen presence. Freely admitting his past bouts with depression and frequent infidelities early in his marriage, he now seems mainly grateful for his loyal fan base whose loyalty he rewards via such gestures as spontaneous hotel room visits and allowing a young man to jam with him onstage. Not to mention the annual Rick Springfield-themed Caribbean cruise in which he’s seen frolicking shirtless in the ocean while surrounded by adoring females.

But the film is mostly interested in those fans, including one woman who nearly died from a serious illness until she found the will to live through his music; a North Carolina minister who manages to overlook the singer’s moral transgressions; and several housewives, including one whose husband barely manages to control his resentment during a particularly uncomfortable interview.

Not delving deeply either into Springfield — whose wife, seen briefly late in the film, admits to the difficulties of being married to someone being endlessly pursued by potential rivals — or the reasons for his fans’ obsessive devotion, the film registers as a minor curio at best. And the onscreen commentary by such peripheral figures as former MTV V.J. Mark Goodman, actress Linda Blair and former teen idol Corey Feldman doesn’t exactly add much to the proceedings.

Production: Yellow Rick Road Productions, Dolger Films, Doverwood Communications
Director/producer: Sylvia Caminer
Executive producers: Melanie Lentz-Janney, Dancy Myers
Director of photography: Douglas Bachman
Editor: David Dean
Not rated, 94 mins