An Affair of the Heart Review
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When a copy of the Rick Springfield documentary An Affair of the Heart arrived at my door, I had one burning question that needed answering: Who’s Rick Springfield? I had a vague recollection of having heard the name before. Oh, right, he did “Jessie’s Girl.” But didn’t that come out more than 20 years ago? The pop star and actor seems to have kept busy since then, but this is clearly going to be a “whatever happened to...” film, right? Well, sort of.

An Affair of the Heart isn’t so much about Rick Springfield as it is about a collection of fans whose devotion to the singer and his music rivals any Beatlemaniac I’ve met. The film focuses on a handful, including a woman who connected with his music to overcome a history of abuse, a 15-year-old who started playing guitar to emulate his hero, and a pair of best friends whose enthusiasm for the singer is only matched by their husbands’ exasperation with the whole thing. Each tells their story here, and most get the chance to meet the object of their obsession.

  
 
That isn’t to say Rick Springfield isn’t in this movie. The film quickly tracks the pop singer’s early musical success and well-received turn on daytime soap General Hospital through his long hiatus from music during the ‘90s and ‘00s. When he does appear in the film—largely during his return musical tour—he’s a pretty good sport about the whole thing. Springfield seems well-adjusted over his up-and-down career and is never less than gracious with the fans he meets.

The inherent problem with fandom, especially smaller groups like this, is that it’s hard for someone who isn’t a part of it to connect to it. Hitting the right tone for a mass audience without poking fun at the subjects can be tricky. The filmmakers present their stories honestly, neither having a wink at their expense nor ignoring how unusual their particular focus is. One of the better vignettes follows Springfield’s tour to a hard rock festival in Sweden, where the locals mostly seem puzzled not only that is the singer there but that he has a following.

Ultimately, the film portrays its superfans affectionately, and it’s hard not to agree when the 15-year-old gets the chance to play onstage with the aging rocker. Certainly some stories work better than others, and some of the interviews with music and Hollywood industry players could have been better integrated. But, overall, it all moves along nicely.

This is the part where I’d say that if you’re a Rick Springfield fan, then this movie is worth checking out. But the kind of fans who appear in An Affair of the Heart wouldn’t need any encouragement. For the rest of us, it’s an interesting diversion about that guy who sang that song that you’ve heard a lot—and the people who love him.

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