Mixed or average reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 18
  2. Negative: 5 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    One of the most violent opening scenes in screen history…Yet given such a visually adept exercise, the rest seems transparently off-the-cuff. There are obese trailer-camp porn stars, heavenly visions, a climactic rendition of Love Me Tender and no-point references to The Wizard of Oz - all of which top this two-hour farrago like a soggy tarp. [17 Aug 1990, Life, 4D]
  2. The problem with the taboo-busters is that they feel calculated - in the past, Lynch's creepiness seemed casual and natural - and they take Wild at Heart so high it can't come down; the picture repeatedly jacks itself into frenzy only to crash into lethargy.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    The first Lynch film in which his motives -- to hang a haberdashery of bizarre incidents on the merest hook of plot -- are apparent... What's lacking is the old sense of delicious, disturbing mystery. [20 Aug 1990, p.63]
  4. 20
    What "Wild at Heart" feels like is a kind of housecleaning -- a disjointed collection of images and odd snatches of ideas that the director couldn't make room for anyplace else. They have no context, and as a result, no power to thrill or disturb.
  5. At least (John) Waters cares about most of his freaks; for Lynch they're basically exploitation fodder for a puritanical "dark vision of the universe" that seems to come straight out of junior high, complete with giggles.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 40 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 9
  2. Negative: 2 out of 9
  1. Dec 22, 2011
    Wild At Heart is as David Lynch describes it, a road romance movie that takes you on a journey along a twisted highway in the modern world.
    If I had to describe wild at heart in three words I would say powerful, wild and romantic.
    It is very different to any other lynch films as it largely makes sense and has a lighter feeling to it as well as a few very disturbing scenes.
    The cast is star studded and excellent. Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern and Willem Dafoe are captivating. Diane Laddâ
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 3, 2014
    Hilariously bad. The film starts off with an interesting premise but it eventually gets drowned out as David Lynch just tries to do as much weird crap as he can. The end result is a grotesque, unpleasingly disturbing film that wishes it was something that it was not. Lynch likes to believe this is a remake of "The Wizard of Oz", but he has to have taken to much acid to believe that. Multiple random references that vary in how much sense they make (on a scale from no sense at all to a little sense if you really think about it) does not make it a remake of "The Wizard of Oz". On top of that, with some exceptions, the acting was just bad. Nicolas Cage was good in this, however, so there is that positive. At the end of the day, "Wild at Heart" is a collection of disturbing images with very little effort done to connect them. I love a good weird movie with a random assortment images, but there has to be some connecting factor but the leap from the much more realistic scenes to the weird as all hell surrealistic scenes is a leap I do not know how to make, nor do I think I want to. I wanted to like this one, but at the end of the day, I simply cannot. Full Review »
  3. Sep 23, 2013
    Filled with some crazy characters, this one certainly catches your attention and refuses to let go. Nicolas Cage is at his best playing the larger than life Sailor Ripley and Laura Dern does a great job as Lula. I thought Diane Ladd as Marietta was truly excellent and Willem Defoe was also great as the sleazy Bobby Peru. You cannot fail to notice the many references to ‘The Wizard of Oz’; a theme that runs throughout. Unfortunately I found the film ran too long, there’s only so long you can put up with all the craziness. It reaches a point where we lose one of the main threads that have been running through the first two thirds of the film and I found that quite distracting. Still, it’s worth a look for a decent Cage performance and the, almost comic-book, like characterisations from Lynch (well at least for the first two thirds).

    SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

    My score: 6.9/10.
    Full Review »