Jessica Biel stars in Diane Bell’s latest film Bleeding Heart.

Written and directed by Diane Bell.

It’s refreshing to have the practice of yoga featured prominently in the storyline of a film. Pitting the peacefulness of yoga against violence and greed, the film Bleeding Heart asks: How far will a good-hearted yogi go to defend a loved one?

The lead character, May (Jessica Biel), was put up for adoption, while her estranged sister Susan (Zosia Mamet from Girls) was raised by their biological mother who died at a young age. May teaches yoga and partners with her somewhat controlling boyfriend. Susan, nicknamed Shiva, has turned to sex work at the very violent hands of her boyfriend. The film begins when the sisters initially unite, and continues as May finds the strength to seek independence for both herself and her newfound sister. Director Diane Bell portrays her two lead women as strong, capable, and finally able to make their own choices.

Diane taught yoga in Europe at social welfare centers to women in the sex trade, inspiring this story. According to Diane, “It’s easy to be peaceful when everyone around you is dedicated to peace, but how do we deal with someone who is violent and who doesn’t want to negotiate in a peaceful way? Chant? Pray?” To this end, all of the actors give credible performances, especially Jessica Biel, who exudes inner calm and decisiveness, and Joe Anderson, who is genuinely terrifying as Shiva’s boyfriend.

The film’s beautiful cinematography shines in the yoga studio sequences. Muted lighting and graceful camerawork capture the stillness and peacefulness in each elongated pose.

Opens in LA December 11.


Reviewed by Karen Henry, an Associate Editor at the Bliss Network and a freelance publicist and producer.

Karen Henry is an Associate Editor at LA YOGA who volunteers in a variety of capacities for nonprofit organizations and artists around Los Angeles. She practices yoga as a counterbalance to her daily impact sports and is a mother of four grown children who also practice yoga (well, the two in California at least).