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***Official "HEARTS OF ATLANTIS" Review thread (1 Viewer)

Chris Dugger

Supporting Actor
Jun 5, 1998
This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Hearts Of Atlantis"". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread. Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning! If you need to discuss those type of issues, I have designated an Official Discussion Thread which can be found at this link .
Again, without warning, I will delete all posts that are not a HTF member review!
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
[Edited last by Chris Dugger on September 28, 2001 at 06:58 AM]

Edwin Pereyra

Senior HTF Member
Oct 26, 1998
This film was a major, MAJOR disappointment.
Its story samples some of Stephen King’s previous non-horror film adaptations: Stand By Me (coming-of-age-drama), The Dead Zone and the The Green Mile (supernatural powers). As with most Stephen King adaptations, the film has its usual bookends and a main flashback narrative.
Hearts In Atlantis tells the story of a fatherless young boy (Anton Yelchin) who strikes up a friendship with Ted, a mysterious man played by Anthony Hopkins.
The film moves in the same languorous pace as director Scott Hick’s last effort, Snow Falling On Cedars. The situations presented in this film does not feel genuine or real – from the childhood friendship between Bobby and a young girl, Carol, to the run-ins with the town bullies. While Anthony Hopkins has a great presence, his performance is nothing extraordinary nor, in my opinion, it is an Oscar worthy performance as a national syndicate film critic is quoted in the film’s print ads. His dialogue is written such that he has to repeat himself just to make a point. This is fine if the film’s target audiences are preschool kids, which it is not. Yelchin, as the young boy, is good but does not have the charisma of River Phoenix in Stand By Me.
The film has a subplot involving Ted in pursuit by mysterious men, which was purposely left unclear and unresolved. Normally, this wouldn’t bother me if it was a minor subplot, but the film spends far too much time with this aspect of the story that it demands some type of a resolution or a payoff. Leaving it open like the filmmakers did, left an impression on me of being cheated in the entire process.
In the end, what the film tries to become is an examination of relationships between a boy, his mom and a stranger and as a coming-of-age tale. Unfortunately, we have seen this storyline many times before and this film does not offer anything new. Those films dealing with these same themes, which came before Hearts Of Atlantis are much better than this one (Stand By Me is one of them).
Again, this film was a MAJOR disappointment. I should have listened to the remarks that came out after its screening at the Toronto Film Festival two weeks ago. But with a drought of new releases at the box office in the last two weeks, I thought I’d check out one of the three main release films. I chose this one over Don’t Say A Word, which got bad reviews and Zoolander, which for the most part got middle of the road reviews (maybe I should have seen this one instead), hoping at least that it will be a feel-good film even when its reviews, after Toronto, ranged from fair to excellent. Little did I know that I would be siding with those who disliked this film.
Hearts In Atlantis rates
. Not recommended.
http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/Forum9/HTML/005780.html#8 http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/Forum9/HTML/006466.html
[Edited last by Edwin Pereyra on September 28, 2001 at 07:22 PM]

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1999
I rather liked HIA for its simplicity, and nuance with the loss of innocence when we all finally grow up in spite of this tough world. Everyone needs someone to lend a helping hand, and the story deals with such an occurence for Bobby, a young boy who lives with his widowed mother (father passed away, but obviously had a gambling problem), and upon a chance encounter with Ted (Hopkins) who lives in the upper story of the 2-story house Bobby and his mother dwell.
It unfolds at an leisurely pace, and the life lessons that Ted passes onto Bobby are aptly demonstrated upon the conclusion of the film. While Ted's special gift makes him move from town to town, his relationship with Bobby takes on a special dimension that allows Bobby to tap into his inner resources, something that probably would have never happened if he didn't met Ted.
I give it a grade of B or 3 stars. Don't go in expecting "greatness", it's pleasantly good.
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Senior HTF Member
Feb 8, 2001
Real Name
I've been eagerly awaiting hearts in atlantis, I've read the book, one of my favorite's of steven king's, and although i knew that the low men story was gutted for the screen, i didn't really get excited about the film until i saw the one sheet, which i felt really captured the feel of the low men story, in a subtle, minimalist way.
The problem is the photography of the one sheet is dark, and that doesn't match the cinematography of the film.
no let me start over...
Hearts in Atlantis is, frusterating. An author i very much respect has said about the recent film version of Emma, that they had a fantastic cast, gorgeious cinematography, great costumes, except the director didn't understand how a key scene works (the picnic scene), and how it should be played, and the whole film falls apart from there. That's exactly the problem with Hearts in ATlantis, only it's not just one scene, it's almost every major key scene.
I would say that the only scenes that worked, were the monty scene, the ferris wheel, the corner pocket bar, and most of the interactions between Bobby and Ted. Those ones worked true to the way they played in the book, and a few scenes worked true to the spirit of the book, Bobby beating up the bully, Bobby confronting his mom after Ted is taken, and Bobby and Carol's farewell (Sully was cut out, but his scenes worked). But the problems lie in what didn't work: It didn't work to add in the sport's story, in the novel, the scene of Bobby carrying Carol is not one of triumph, it's one of terror; the editing juxtaposition between Bobby's mom and Carol didn't work, the juxtaposition king created in his writing worked by complementing that terror that bobby went through carrying Carol, and both of those were strongly tied to the lord of the flies element; the montages of childhood bliss didn't really work; and one of the final things that didn'work was the happy way bobby's life is tied up, he's a famous photographer now, and he got the bike, and made up with his mom. In the book he never got the bike and he ended up as a run of the mill construction worker.
Like i said it's fruterating, you have, for the most part fantastic performances, Hope Davis is hit and miss, sometimes someimtes she has bobby's mom dead on, other's she underplays a little much. the actors who play carol and bobby are pretty much good, a bit spotty, but Yelchin does a really great job as a bobby. the cinematography is excellent, i'd have perferred the darker aspects that the poster hinted at, since the book is a dark one, but the cinematography works for the way the movie plays.
The removal of the low men also hurts, leave in the dark tower elements, make it a little bit mystical, if we accept that someone with psychic powers exists, then we can probably accept hat mystical bad gusy are after him.
the removal of Lord of the flies hurts, i think it could have been left in a way that it would work.
the toning down of bobby's character hurts, Bobby was a reader in the book, not a big one but he liked getting an adult library card still. removing this, removes an important aspect of bobby's and ted's relationship. having him heroically win against the bully, works okay on the screen, but it was al ittle better when bobby hunted him down with a baseball bat and beat the hell out of him.
I think it's too bad that the scene with bobby encountering a real pedophile was not there, it added a twist of irony, but it would have screwed the pacing of the climax.
all that said i really did enjoy the film, it's better than most of the tripe that came out over the summer.
I give it
and 1/2, worth seeing
for all they got wrong, the pose Carol is in, and the whole framing of that scene when bobby's mom walks in at the end is absolutely perfect, and couldn't have played better, too bad Hope davis gets that whole scene wrong, but half that misplay is not her fault it is probably the editing build up to that scene.
that said i didn't mention teh worst travesty, when the low men show up after bobby and ted exit teh corner pocket, i guess scott hicks has never heard of suspense, or build up. (and it's too bad that constraints on film content forced a birthday party rather than the barest budding of sexual awakening bobby feels in that moment in the book).
Bah, sorry for the rambling and typos (it's very late), the movies okay, i'll prolly get the dvd, but the book is much much better.

Jason Whyte

Jun 3, 1999
Link Removed
Hearts In Atlantis
Directed by Scott Hicks
Screenplay by William Goldman from the novel by Stephen King
Theatrical Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Sound: Dolby SR-D, DTS, SDDS
Length: 101 minutes
Rating: ** out of ****
"Hearts In Atlantis" is like being trapped in a cliche' but now with Stephen King's name on it. Plus, you have the clout of Anthony Hopkins and the ambition of director Scott Hicks ("Snow Falling on Cedars," "Shine") invading the frame, which can confuse beauty with shallowness. "Hearts in Atlantis" shows some promise at the forefront and has some good performances, but ultimately never provides anything new to invest our time in.
The story opens on a funeral to set a bookend, where Bobby Garfield (David Morse) mourns over the loss of a childhood friend and returns to his old house. This is where we transport back to his childhood, where we learn about Bobby (Anton Yelchin as a child)some more. He has a widowed mother with little money to go around, and decides to let one of the rooms in her house out. Enter Ted (Anthony Hopkins), a mysterious looking man with secrets of his own, who befriends Bobby instantly. Ted becomes sort of a mentor to Bobby, helping him win the affection of Carol (Mika Boorem), his best girl/friend. It is soon discovered that Ted has some forms of power of his own, where he can look into the minds of anyone he wants. The power sort of passes to Bobby, who doesn't know what to make of it. And so on.
Hicks doesn't really let any of the coming-of-age material take off, nor the mystical subplot. The "bad guys" that Ted has to stay away from are rather lacking and feels underdeveloped. One has to wonder if that was Hicks' intention, but it still doesn't work.
Not only did this film remind me of "The Green Mile" in terms of its mysticism of a certain character, it felt like it was shot with the same cameras. That said, this is cinematographer Piotr Sobocinski's last film, a man responsible for many of Krzysztof Kieslowski's films, and the gorgeous if arid "Angel Eyes" earlier this year, and he does an outstanding job here, but the similarities are too noticeable to ignore.
Acting wise, the only praise I can give are to Anthony Hopkins and young Mika Boorem. Hopkins is always fascinating to watch, and here he brings an interesting charm to his Ted Brautigan. Boorem, who I've seen in small parts in films like "Along Came A Spider" and "The Patriot" (and is showing up in a few weeks as the young Drew Barrymore in "Riding in Cars With Boys") brings just the right level of charm and spirit to Carol. She's a star in the making. Sadly, I was not that impressed with Anton Yelchin's Bobby, who didn't have enough charisma or grounding to keep me interested. And Hope Davis as Bobby's mother doesn't get further than a few single working mother stereotypes.
Hicks tries so much here but ultimately fails in engaging the viewer. It looks good and it sounds good, and certainly seems "Prestige" due to Hopkins' clout, but the film is awash with so many contrivances and such a slow pace, it kills any interest and lacks any way for us to care about the characters or the situations.
Seen at: Alliance Atlantis Cinemas, Victoria BC.
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