The marriage of the Boons is in a rut. Wiley (Don Johnson) heads a construction firm that is rebuilding the school gym in a Vermont commuity. He and Sandra (Susan Sarandan) have been married since high school. They have three children.
Confounded on Thanksgiving about what he can be thankful for, Wiley walks out and moves into a van near his construction site. Although his best friend Sam (Jeff Daniels), the high school principal, tries to get him to return home, Wiley refuses. He is just plain tired of being a husband.
Marriage counselor Dr. William Baxter has stated: "Men are more like little boys than women are like little girls. They thrive on approval and like to be in control." Sweet Hearts Dance clearly reveals the pain Wiley inflicts upon his competent and loving wife. Sandra has every right to be jealous of her husband's relationship with Sam. There is more emotional honesty and verbal sharing between these male friends than exists in the Boon household.
Screenplay writer Ernest Thompson (On Golden Pond) extends the analysis of sexual politics by also looking at the difficulty Sam and his girlfriend Adie (Elizabeth Perkins) have coming to terms with their commitment to each other. Director Robert Greenwald keeps the pace in the drama slow and leisurely, giving us time to savor the epiphanies which come in their own sweet time.