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Desert Hearts is a 1985 lesbian-themed romantic drama film loosely based on the Jane Rule novel Desert of the Heart. Directed by Donna Deitch, the film stars Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau with a supporting performance by Audra Lindley. Desert Hearts is set in 1959. Vivian Bell (Shaver), an English professor at Columbia University, travels to Nevada to establish six-week residency to obtain a divorce. She stays at a guest house for women waiting for their divorces to be finalized, owned by Frances Parker (Lindley). Vivian meets Cay Rivvers (Charbonneau), a free-spirited sculptor to whom Frances is a surrogate mother. Cay works at a casino as a change operator in Reno, and is ending a relationship with Darrell, her boss, because as she put it, she "allowed (her)self to be attracted to his attraction" for her. When Vivian arrives, Cay notices her, and tightly controlled and elegant Vivian in turn is taken aback by Cay's boldness and lack of concern of what others think of her....
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