Documenting the past few decades of an icon like Rick Springfield can’t be an easy task. Adding in stories and impressions from the legions of adoring fans he has amassed over the years could seem nearly impossible to an outsider looking in. What director Sylvia Caminer has done with An Affair Of The Heart, however, is even more impressive than all of that – she’s captured the shared moments in between stage and screen, and created an endearing love letter which chronicles the near-symbiotic relationship that exists between Rick and his fans to this day. A love letter that totally rocks.
To the uninitiated, Springfield shot to superstardom in the 80′s, through appearances on General Hospital and contagious pop music hits like Jessie’s Girl. To most, he seemed to disappear completely after years in the spotlight. But to those around the world who were touched by his music, his spirit, and his heart, Rick Springfield never went anywhere. He just found his way closer to home, and further into his fans’ diverse lives. From the marriages he helped bring about, to the lives that were saved through his musical gift of strength and perseverance, Rick was always right there, and no one need ever feel completely alone. Including, it turns out, Rick Springfield himself.
The one thing that this film does best is to show us the man behind the magic curtain. Springfield these days is as beautiful, flawed, sensitive, generous, broken, humble and strong as ever before, but over and above the sense of star power surrounding his every move, Rick is a human being. It’s that pull of the Every Man that lures fans in from all around the world; from every age, race, colour, creed, religion, etc that one could imagine. He’s a husband, a father, a son, and a friend. His ability to share his own feelings and thoughts while battling depression, loss, infidelity and other hardships is something that everyone can relate to, and this film captures some of the touching and intimate moments that Rick has been able to share with his most devoted fans – in amongst some truly euphoric and rockin’ concert footage.
Caminer’s documentary is as much a heart-warming tribute to the fans as it is to Springfield and – as Rick himself is quick to point out – you really can’t have one without the other. Now too, with a book out and the continued success of this documentary film, Springfield has even more ways to reach out and touch more lives than he ever could before. So go ahead and take a walk along the Yellow Rick Road – you’ll be glad you did!
An Affair Of The Heart is screening as part of the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto Monday April 30th at 7:15pm (Royal) and Thursday May 3rd at 6:30pm (Cumberland)
Note: Whoever yelled out “Hot Doc!” from the back of the International Premiere screening during the early General Hospital footage is one of my new favourite people. Just sayin’.