Peter Thompson (Kaye) is a lonely piano-tuner pushing fifty. When his mother dies, he is finally bold enough to enter the singles scene. Through a Melbourne dating service he is paired with Patricia (Hughes) a shy, thirtyish bank clerk. Their courtship is slow and gentle, filled with awkward moments and comical, tentative steps. Peter encourages Patricia to take up amateur dramatics, and they bond during rehearsals under the eye of enthusiastic director George (Finlayson). But Peter is far from perfect, and Wendy is crippled by overbearing parents and a fear of sex. Can love indeed conquer all?
Defying Hollywood convention, this quiet gem of a romance focuses on unremarkable people doing unremarkable things. The result is a subdued, very human comedy that sneaks up on you. Kaye and Hughes never overplay their predicaments, investing their characters with real pathos. Director Cox knows just how to balance the tender with the absurd, without needing to hammer home the jokes — but he never shies away from showing the neuroses that his characters need to overcome. Nominated for five Australian Academy Awards, "Hearts" took home the prize for Best Picture in 1982. It's a must-see for anyone who has experienced the awkwardness of a first date, or fallen in love against all odds.