This week in theaters from writer/director Diane Bell and Gravitas Ventures comes the tale of family that need each other through a “Bleeding Heart.”

May (Jessica Biel) is a yoga instructor living with boyfriend Dex (Edi Gathegi). Living and working for their studio, one would think there life is a full one. However, May has been searching for younger sister Shiva (Zosia Mamet) whom she has never met.

When finally receiving word of her location, May discovers that Shiva is living with boyfriend Cody (Joe Anderson). Introducing herself to Shiva, a connection begins even though it’s a strained one. Quickly May learns that her sister’s boyfriend controls her life — the life of a prostitute.

Wanting to spend more time with Shiva, May tries to help the young girl. Taking her away for the day, May lets loose arriving at her mother, Martha’s (Kate Burton) home. Immediately Martha is suspicious of Shiva and not happy that she’s in the house.

Dex isn’t thrilled either believing that Shiva is only interested in a sister relationship because of money. But it is Cody that proves to be the most dangerous to the two women and it is about to erupt past the point of no return.

Biel as May is a woman who not only misses her mother but wished she had answers for the choices that were made. Feeling as if Shiva has the answers, May soon discovers that her younger sister has just as many questions but is too busy trying to survive. Biel gives this character such depth and heart that when she does bust loose I’m personally pretty thrilled for her. As the growing protective big sister instinct kicks it, the ending doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.

Mamet as Shiva is a young woman that has grown hard by the life she is having to live. When May makes herself known, there is this gap between the two but not because of age. Shiva has seen and experienced much more of life that May so the big-sister-little-sister dynamic flips. Shiva shows her big sister a side of life that May either avoided or was afraid of for some reason.

Gathegi as Dex believed that May wanted the same things he did which might be true but there is also a part of her he obviously was unaware of. Burton as Martha is a mother who doesn’t want anything to do with Shiva and that feeling is based on fear of losing May. Just a tad bitchy for sure!

Anderson as Cody is trouble from the moment his character appears on screen. His character is controlling, violent and manipulative but it’s all Shiva knows. Using his “girlfriend” to make money it becomes clear that anyone watching the film will want to smack him into oblivion which means – well done Anderson!

Other cast include: Nandini Bapat as the Meditator, Exie Booker as Peter, Michelle Brew as Ashtanga Yogi, LaToya Gulley as Ashtanga Yogi, and Sam Ly as James.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Bleeding Heart” three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Biel gives a believable performance as a woman who takes a moment to break out of her shell a little. Beginning as the meditating yoga instructor on a serene path it is thrilling to watch this character jump into Shiva’s life a bit rattled an interesting cage.

The writer, director and cast put together a film about family secrets, lies, fears and what happens when all of those things come to a head. Biel and Mamet take this story through twists and turns with performances that I thoroughly enjoyed up to the very shocking final scene.

In the end — they are tied by blood and bound by lies!

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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.