ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  scott hicks

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  drama

LENGTH  -  101 minutes

RELEASED  -  28 september 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  warner bros.

OFFICIAL SITE  -  hearts in atlantis

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $31,000,000
hearts in atlantis - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from hearts in atlantis at

buy the dvd from hearts in atlantis at

a widowed mother and her son change when a mysterious stranger enter their lives.

early in the movie, ted mentions the library policemen. this is a reference to a story by stephen king.


picture from hearts in atlantis

picture from hearts in atlantis

picture from hearts in atlantis


two out of four possible stars

Slow. A perfect word for this film. And i have lots of patience. But somehow, even the marvelous Anthony Hopkins couldn't make me stop looking at my watch more than once. Perhaps the problems with this film is that I am entirely the wrong demographic. I'm thinking the filmmakers were going for a thirty-five to fifty-year-old audience. Unusual, for a movie, but it's been done before. And I know that kind of sounds like marketing bafflegab, but really, I couldn't identify with anyone in the film.

The child actor in the lead (who was very good, by the way) was too young for me to sympathize with. And I have no connection to 1960, when the film takes place. It might as well have been 1860, for all the "reminiscing" I was able to conjure up. That's not to say that i couldn't enjoy a film that was made in some decade other than the present one, but with neither a familiar era nor somebody to identify with, this film seemed almost foreign. And it wasn't like something that I've never seen before, allowing me to forget that I wasn't that interested in the material to begin with.

I wasn't all that interested in Final Fantasy when I saw it in the theaters, but the interesting and creative way the material was presented in that film made me forget that I'd rather not spend my Sunday playing the video game. But Atlantis just didn't pull at my heartstrings. I know, that was a bad pun there, but it's true. This movie should have brought me to tears (or close to it) because that was its purpose. But it didn't. Because its elements just didn't add up. And it's rare that I can't find anything to recommend in a movie that, despite it's protracted length, had performances that were uncommonly good.

And I was more than fairly impressed by Anton Yelchin's performance as "Bobby Garfield," the child lead in the film. But Anton's an eleven-year-old boy. Living in 1960. And Anthony Hopkins hovers around the age of sixty. Somehow, I just couldn't identify with any of the characters. It's because there's nothing in the film that's outstanding or exceptional. Was that a little redundant? Every once in a while I was drawn into the story by one of Hopkins's little monologues throughout the movie.

And really, I sometimes felt that this movie would have been better put on stage, rather than on the screen. And this is kind of ironic, considering that this film was a novel by Stephen King before it became a movie. On the screen, it looks like it was originally meant for the stage. If I remember correctly, Hearts in Atlantis did not cause an uproar when it was published and did not represent the best of King's ability. The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption, both of which were written in novel form by Stephen King before they were made into movies both had that magical quality that Hearts just seems to lack.

When I first saw the previews for the film, it splashed on the screen that the film was based on a king novel. I half expected the always talented Frank Darabont to be the at the helm of this flick, but Hearts was directed instead by Scott Hicks. I wonder if Darabont passed on the book because of its inferiority to his earlier Stephen King projects, or if the film just didn't have the right director. After having large success with Shine, Hicks has failed to capture my imagination with Hearts in Atlantis.

And although I cannot recommend Hearts on the merits of it's story-line alone, some of the other elements of this film are entertaining. Taken individually, the performances of most of the actors were fairly impressive. It is hard to find fault ever with any of Anthony Hopkins's performances and this film was no exception. The two female co-stars in the film, Hope Davis (as Bobby's mother) and Mika Boorem (as Bobby's Girlfriend) both give strong performances. And so although there are several actors in this film who deserve accolades for their performances, they cannot seem to overcome the severe slowness of the pace in this film.

An additional merit for this film has to be the cinematography. In fact, this film was very beautiful. The cinematography alone was enough to warrant an additional star for this film (the first being for the individual performances) and so although I did not personally enjoy the whole package, I think that this might be a fine rental for someone who experienced this specific era. I don't believe an actual eleven-year-old (the age of the child lead in the film) would really "get" this movie, but I do think that someone with a few hours on his or her hands and first-hand memories of 1960, might enjoy this film.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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