Heart Of The Stag

  • 1984
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama

On an isolated New Zealand farm Regan is forced to endure a living hell as her brutal father, Cooper, forces her into a sexual relationship. Lawrence, a drifter who is unaware of the incestuous situation, is hired by Cooper to help out during the annual sheep roundup. An uneasy chemistry builds up between the two as Cooper warns his new employee never to...read more

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On an isolated New Zealand farm Regan is forced to endure a living hell as her brutal father, Cooper, forces her into a sexual relationship. Lawrence, a drifter who is unaware of the incestuous situation, is hired by Cooper to help out during the annual sheep roundup. An uneasy chemistry

builds up between the two as Cooper warns his new employee never to go after the wild stags that graze on his land. Another farmhand (Wilson) cautions Lawrence never to touch anything that belongs to their boss--but the young man doesn't realize that this includes Regan. He tries warming up to the

girl and is puzzled by her avoidance of him. After the sheep shearing is finished, Cooper tells Lawrence to leave. Then, at a drunken party, Cooper kisses another woman, and Regan leaves in tears. Lawrence follows her and coaxes her to divulge her terrible secret. He tries to help her escape from

the farm, but the two are followed by an enraged Cooper, whom they evade for a night before he finds them the next morning up in the mountains. After managing to dodge his pursuer, Lawrence lets out a stag call. A prize beast comes charging from the woods; and Cooper, unable to move quickly

enough, is gored on its antlers. Incest, a difficult topic for any filmmaker to treat, has been handled well in several intelligent films (MURMUR OF THE HEART; FORBIDDEN RELATIONS; and the made-for-television feature SOMETHING ABOUT AMELIA). Here, this taboo is merely part of a story. Although it

serves to motivate Cooper's and Regan's behavior, there is nothing new or dramatic about the situation--which is what is essentially wrong with the film. Its strength lies in the cast. Regan is particularly good as the abused girl, adding edges to the character where the script falters. Lawrence

and Cooper also manage to rise above shallow characterization.

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  • Released: 1984
  • Rating: R
  • Review: On an isolated New Zealand farm Regan is forced to endure a living hell as her brutal father, Cooper, forces her into a sexual relationship. Lawrence, a drifter who is unaware of the incestuous situation, is hired by Cooper to help out during the annual sh… (more)

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