This Christmas season, after the post-Turducken chest pains have subsided enough to allow movement, you may be inspired by your food-induced minor cardiac trauma to watch a movie about a heart patient romance. But now that there are at least two modern movies about heart patient romance, the 1993 Marisa Tomei/Christian Slater movie, Untamed Heart, and Will Smith's current cinematic crusade to prove that he's a better human being than everyone else, Seven Pounds, you have a very difficult choice to make–a choice almost as difficult as deciding who is worthy enough to receive your bone marrow. So which organ transplant romance will your body reject faster? Let's spot the differences! (This goes without saying, but spoiler alert for both Seven Pounds and a special honorary, 15-year-old spoiler alert for Untamed Heart)
Our (possibly annoying) Protagonist:
Untamed Heart: Marisa Tomei, a cheerful, caring, if lonely Minnesota waitress who has bad luck with guys. Annoyance factor: Low-to-nonexistent. It's Marisa Tomei. Also, her best friend is played by Rosie Perez and her character's lines ("He's like a tumor sitting over there.") often temper the syrupy stuff.
Seven Pounds: Will Smith, a rather creepy, definitely spacey guy who, probably suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder following a terrible Blackberrying-while-driving collision, decides to kill himself, but not before finding "worthy" recipients for his organs. How does he determine their worthiness? Easy: by stalking them and assuming his brother's identity. Annoyance factor: extremely high.
Heart Patient/Love Interest:
Untamed Heart: Christian Slater, a shy, quiet busboy with a heart defect who, while growing up in an orphanage, was told that he'd had a baboon heart transplant–because that's the kind of personal medical misinformation often fed to children in orphanages.
Seven Pounds: Rosario Dawson, a supposedly bright young woman with congestive heart failure, who longs to travel but can't because she faints all the time. She's waiting for a heart transplant, if you know what I mean. (Incidentally, I mean that she needs a vital organ transplant in order to improve her quality of life.)
How Does Their Love Begin?
Untamed Heart: Slater rescues Tomei from two would-be rapists as she is walking home from work one night.
Seven Pounds: Smith stalks Dawson. Her reasoning skills no doubt weakened by her heart condition, she improbably, and very quickly falls for him.
How Does Their Love End?
Untamed Heart: After a few months of a very sweet relationship, Slater quietly dies one day in the passenger seat while Tomei is driving them home from a hockey game.
Seven Pounds: After sleeping with Dawson, and making her believe they could have a future together, Smith kills himself. Dawson gets his self-righteous, lying heart.
Does the movie prominently feature Nat King Cole's "Nature Boy," and if so, is it moving?
Untamed Heart: Oh yes. Slater owned it on vinyl, even. It's the Nature Boy, man-with-a-baboon-heart connection.
Seven Pounds: No.
Does the movie prominently feature death by jellyfish, and if so is it ridiculous?
Untamed Heart: Uh, no.
Seven Pounds: Yes it does, and yes it definitely is. And it's not just death by jellyfish in the ocean, either. It's death by jellyfish in a bathtub.