There may be a clear delineation line for those who are familiar with Rick Springfield. You may remember him from his time when he was on one of the country's most popular shows at the time in General Hospital while he was releasing Top 10 singles consistently for a period. Others may know his work after that period in the early ‘80s in various short tributes or even in Boogie Nights when Mark Wahlberg is unknowingly filmed with a haunting thousand yard stare on his face while the song plays. And near the height of his musical popularity, Springfield abandoned his music career, releasing one album in a sixteen year period before returning to perform and release albums in 2004. His various fans through the years never lost faith in his decision to return, and in An Affair of the Heart, this fandom is examined.
The film is directed by Sylvia Caminer and looks at several fans in the feature, each of whom has their own connection to Springfield's music. Before we get to that point though, Springfield friends such as Corey Feldman, Linda Blair and Mark Goodman share their thoughts on Springfield. It is very easily to confuse this as a misguided bout of unintentional comedy with this montage of people, but quickly turns to the fans and with good reason. The film first looks at two friends from New Jersey who talk about their first connections to his music and how their trips conflict with their families and husbands (most of Springfield's fans appear to be women, and for good reason, the guy is damned handsome). The mecca for Springfield fans appears to be two events that are must-attend: the first is a cruise for the fans which Springfield performs and interacts with the fans, the other is a series of shows in the Midwest that many flock to.
There are more poignant connections which fans of Springfield manage to share. A woman named Laurie Bennett discusses her struggles with a congenital heart defect and the open heart surgeries she had to endure, and when she shares this story with Springfield, a series of photos taken of the event show his transformation from embarrassment to genuine empathy, and the two shared a tearful embrace at the end of her story. Later in the film the two are at an airport and Springfield's flight is cancelled, and Laurie's husband offers to switch flights with Springfield so the latter could make the funeral of a dear friend. Springfield is honest, open and accommodating with his fans, and they return this delivery in kind.
It may be easy to poopoo Springfield fans as those unwilling to let go of a bygone era, but when one considers more of Springfield's decades-long battle with depression, the connection is less about an aging flash in the pan and one who had problems much in the same way they did (or even do), and this connection to Springfield's music goes deeper than just the music, it is the meaning behind it that people relate to. That Springfield tends to identify this and respond accordingly for it is commendable on his part.
With that said, it makes what I'm about to say slightly hypocritical to say. This is something to be said for a fan's connection to something larger than themselves, and when that connection is genuine and nurturing, all the more so. But while watching An Affair of The Heart, I was left wondering just what it was about the connection which Springfield cherished or desired to return to. There are good moments in the film, but it still feels abundantly one-sided in its approach that limits it from being memorable or great.
It is not meant to besmirch An Affair of The Heart by saying that who delivers said affair to said organ appears to be missing for some of the production. But even with this absence, the affair and the heart are well-represented in the movie. There may be a level of derision when talking about the fans of Rick Springfield, but Springfield loves his fans and performing for them, and that lack of irony and devotion to them is something that not only comes through in the film, but is something many "miserable" musicians of much higher celebrity could take a note or two from.
An Affair of The Heart is presented in an AVC-encoded 1.78:1 widescreen transfer with the overall results being not bad. Image detail is sufficient and the concerts have no issues when it comes to black levels crushing or even much noise in the image. Colors are reproduced accurately and have no saturation qualms to fret about. The film looks as natural as can be and is nice to watch.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless surround track packs quite a punch to go with the feature. The ample concert performances sound clear and have a pronounced punch from the subwoofer to fill out the low end. There is not much in the way of directional effects, but there are moments of channel panning and the listening experience was more immersive than expected. The disc handles both areas (music and dialogue) quite well throughout.
A good amount of additional footage in various forms. The deleted/extended scenes (8, 33:04) look at a little more of Laurie and her story and connection to Springfield, and some more time spent with her and her mother. There is even some footage given to the male Springfield fans, a pronounced minority in the bloc of followers. Next are extended interviews and conversations (10, 46:29), some of which feature in the film, but most of the subjects do not. There is even more footage of what occurred at the screenings and the premiere, the latter of which includes a question and answer session with Springfield and the film's subjects (32:17). Be on the lookout for an appearance for other ‘80s icon Martha Quinn! The film's trailer (2:06) and a stills gallery round things out.
I was not sure what I would be expecting when I popped An Affair of The Heart into the Blu-ray player, and what came from it was a mix of enjoyment, tender moments of heartfelt expression and devotion in something that should be universal, regardless of the artist at the center of it. Technically the disc is good and the extras are just as nifty. Springfield fans will snap this up (as they should), but for those who are seeing his work for the first time, or coming back to it after an absence? It is definitely worth checking out.