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‘HEART LIKE A WHEEL’

                          

For Hicksflicks.com, April 4, 2014

Bonnie Bedelia currently plays the matriarch of the family in NBC's primetime soap-opera/comedy "Parenthood," and you may know her as Bruce Willis' wife in the first two "Die Hard" movies (1988/1990). Or Harrison Ford's wife in "Presumed Innocent" (1990).

But Bedelia has had an impressive acting career dating back to the 1950s, and one of her best roles was as the real-life drag-racer Shirley Muldowney in "Heart Like a Wheel" (1983, PG), which has been out of print for awhile but is now back on DVD thanks to the folks at Starz/Anchor Bay.

                                   

Shirley Muldowney with Bonnie Bedelia on the set of 'Heart Like a Wheel.'

Muldowney broke down barriers for women in motorsports but she apparently had no intention of doing anything other than becoming a professional racer, having developed an obsession for racing at an early age.

But because so much male opposition stood in her way, Muldowney was forced to put up with a lot and keep her head down and show that her talent was exceptional and that a woman could fill the stands with fans.

"Heart Like a Wheel" is well directed and has a solid supporting cast, led by Beau Bridges as a competitor who at first taunts her, then helps her, along with Leo Rossi as her husband, young Anthony Edwards as her son and Hoyt Axton as her father.

                            

But it's Bedelia who sells it, showing a lot of range as she takes the character from teenager to professional, resigned middle-aged adult. And she's fabulous.