Three Of Hearts

on April 30, 1993 by Jordan Reed
Ah, New York. Cultural center of the country, heart of big business... the city where two bisexual men and a heterosexual woman can live as one family and have children. In Susan Kaplan's bizarre documentary "Three of Hearts," Sam, Steven and Samantha all fall in love with one another, move in together, get married (Sam and Samantha on paper, Steven unofficially) and decide to procreate. The film spans some eight years of their lives, following the successful opening of their wellness center (Sam is a massage therapist and Steven a chiropractor), the birth of their first child, and the crisis that develops during Samantha's second pregnancy.

The originality of their union makes for interesting viewing, but the most fascinating events -- the legal implications of the various decisions the triumvirate make -- remain under-explored. More than once is the trio told by a lawyer or doctor that their situation has no precedent, so one would think that Kaplan had ample time and footage to divulge the processes involved in solidifying and securing their relationship. And it seems like there would be so many people to speak with about the threesome, but instead the filmmaker provides a bit too much talk from her subjects who, a little too frequently if realistically, resort to clichés to describe their odd lifestyle and lives in general. A smattering of immediate family interviews adds some dimension, and Sam's past in particular is worthy of a separate film (and, according to the production notes, he and Samantha have written a script about that very topic), but the missed opportunities are impossible to ignore. Directed by Susan Kaplan. Produced by Susan Kaplan and Sarie Horowitz. A ThinkFilm release. Documentary. Unrated. Running time: 97 min

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