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Hearts in Atlantis

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Hearts in Atlantis

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Hope Davis
Director: Scott Hicks
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 101 Minutes
Release Date: September 2001
Genres: Drama, Suspense, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: David Morse, Mika Boorem, Anton Yelchin, Dierdre O'Connell

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Timing is everything, and the timing just seems right for this poignant psychological drama that combines the coming-of-age nostalgia of "Stand By Me" with the mystical power of "The Green Mile." Based on Stephen King stories adapted by screenwriter William Goldman and directed by Scott Hicks, it's set in 1960 in Harwich, Connecticut, where fatherless 11 year-old Bobby Garfield (Anton Yelchin) lives in a boarding house with his resentful, self-centered mother (Hope Davis). He's devoted to his neighborhood friends (Mika Boorem, Will Rothhaar) but his pivotal relationship is with a strange, new tenant, Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins) who opens the world of literature to him after his selfish mother refuses to buy him a birthday gift and hands him, instead, a library card. Knowing he's longing for a Schwinn bike, Ted offers to pay him $1 a week to read him the local newspaper and keep his eyes peeled for signs of the malevolent, ominous Low Men who are chasing him to exploit his special powers. The story structure consists of one long flashback, framed by the present, featuring the adult Bobby (David Morse), minimizing the supernatural elements while emphasizing the human drama Hopkins' mysterious character is genteel, sensitive and benignly seductive. The only explanation is that he's a psychic who is wanted by the FBI to aid in their hunt for Communists and even that seems appropriate, given the inexplicable state of the world right now. The production values and performances are solid, particularly Hopkins - arguably the finest, most versatile actor of our era - and the children with whom he forges a firm bond. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Hearts in Atlantis" is a wistful, enigmatic 8, evolving with subtle power to an emotionally effective catharsis.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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