Hearts in Atlantis

6.91 h 40 min2001X-RayPG-13
During the Vietnam war, a brilliant but fatherless boy and his mother, whose lives are forever changed by a mysterious man who enlists the aid of the young boy to save his life.
Scott Hicks
Anthony HopkinsAnton YelchinHope Davis
English [CC]
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Supporting actors
Mika BooremDavid MorseAlan TudykTom BowerCelia WestonAdam LefevreWill RothhaarDeirdre O'ConnellTimmy Reifsnyder
Kerry Heysen
Warner Bros.
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
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Smokingsexual contentviolence
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4.7 out of 5 stars

1391 global ratings

  1. 78% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 14% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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KuehnauReviewed in the United States on November 23, 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Very inaccurate to the film.
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I have a love / hate realtionship with Hearts in Atlantis. The book was a collection of short stories King had done, which were connected via a series of characters that were all presented to the reader in the first short story, "Low men in yellow coats". This first story is the meat and potatoes of the entire book and is also the longest entry in the book, it also ties in to the Dark Tower series as well, making direct references to it.

The rest of the book is bascially about characters and how they were effected by these events that happen during their childhood. Almost the entire rest of the book is simply glossing over the other characters and how they grew up, some went to school, some went to vietnam, others gave up their lives for the things they believed in. The reality is the majority of the book is actually more of a drama piece more than anything else. The final story in the book ties everything all up in a neat little package and we come back to the main character now as an adult himself.

Hearts in Atlantas focuses mostly on the very first story in the book, while also throwing in some references to some of the other events in the other stories not covered.

While I did greatly enjoy the movie, after coming back from a fresh read of the book, I do have complaints and while some of them may seem minor, they were enough to get me to change my opinion of the movie.

The movie fails to reall hammer home how much Bobby actually apprciated his library card, as he ends up becoming a well read reader thanks to Ted and his library card, and is a key point in becoming the man he does become later.

Further, I greatly dislike how the portray the Mother as a victim in the film, yes, she may be a victim of sexually assult, although it was a situation she put herself in, but that ignores the fact that she is constantly abusive to her son, lied about Bobby's Father constantly and was purposely going in to work to fool around with her boss.

In the book, it is later reveal that his Mother is actually hoarding money, as well as spending it on lavished things like clothing and makeup for herself. The movie completely glosses over the fact that Bobby's Mother attacks Bobby and throws him across the room after discovering Carol in Ted's apartment, she even makes a comment stating how disghusting Bobby is and he's just like every other man. Near the end of the book Bobby reads his Mother's mind and realizes his Mother actually doesn't like him at all, Ted even acknowledges this himself. Bobby's Mother is one of the antagonists in the book as far as I am concearned and the movie doesn't do a good enough job of making that point.

They also show Ted touching other characters all the time, which completely goes against the book, Ted's gift can rub off on other people from contact, because of that, he often keeps people at bay and avoids touching them. I really don't know why they did this in the film.

I have no idea why, but there are several instances in which they add in information of Bobby's Father that never happened in the book, I don't know why they do this, as Bobby's Father is intended to be enigmatic. They even had this weird moment where instead of taking a keyfob of the bar as a memeto of his trip, Bobby is given a picture of his Father from a bar tender. I have NO IDEA why they made this change. Why?!

They also changed the owner of the glove in the movie. In the book, the glove was Bobby's and it was stolen from him after helping Carol. Another pointless change in my opinion. My best guess is because they cut all the story content of how the glove was stolen and it going to like Vietnam and back and being left to Bobby in a will, they decided it would be easier to shoe horn in a reason for glove at all by making Sully the owner to begin with. They also cut the entire part where Sully wins a contest to go to a summer camp, leaving Bobby on his own, this is a huge moment for the characters because it changed who they were and how they would treat each other later on, it created a rift between the two that was never properly repaired.

They changed who rescued the kids when they were assulted by teens from a local catholic school, in the book it's supposed to be Carol's friend, in the movie, they made it Ted instead, using his shining to intimidate the teens. This change makes no sense to the story, since Ted is on the lamb, in hiding from the low men in yellow coats and the crimson king. Ted made it a point to stay inside most of the time and avoid getting involved in conflicts. Going outside like that and flashing his power to scare some kids would have definitely set off alarms for the low men.

Even more frustrating is the fact that they tried to shoe horn in a story for why Ted is on the run. In the book, Ted is an escaped breaker, fleeing to avoid the Crimson King and his people, in the movie, they add in a scene where Bobby is reading a news paper headline that states the FBI was under investigation for using psychics to combat Communism. In one small action they wiped out the Dark Tower subtext and turned the low men in yellow coats in to goverment agents. For me this is pretty much inexcusable.

They completely skip the confrontation with the low men and their cars, which actually happen to be living creatures with teeth and tentacles. The design they had for the low men and their cars were also completely wrong.

They changed the part about Bobby waiting for one of the bullies to be alone and then beating the crap out of them with a surprise attack, instead changing it, making it look like self defense. They also cut out where Bobby tells them that if they Bully Carol ever again, they'll kill them and that if they ever pick on Bobby again, he'll burn their house down.

Also, of course, since they skipped all the other stories in the book, it's never explained that Carol became an anti-war activist, who had supposedly died in bombing, but had actually faked her own death, at the end of the book, Bobby and Carol reunite. The movie instead has Bobby meeting Carol's daughter, stating that her Mother has been dead for many years.

The ending is really just a sloppy mess thrown together as best as they could given what they managed to pull off with the film. I have to say that this is a super condensed, very inaccurate version of the book and coming back to it now, I realize I don't care for this movie as much as I remember.
One person found this helpful
Roy WestReviewed in the United States on October 8, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
FULL FIVE STAR Rating! This is an exquisite, polished, gem of a movie.
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This is an exquisite, polished, gem of a movie, thanks in part to Anthony Hopkins' reliably first rate acting, as well as those in the supporting roles. Hearts in Atlantis is the best movie I have seen this year and right up there with the best of the best in my own movie-rating book. The plot is eccentric and off-beat. The movie has heart and soul and it would be wrong not to say that Anthony Hopkins' acting and the role with which he gave his usual all WAS the movie. If you like Hopkins, this is for you. If you like period pieces of the late 50's and early 60's this is for you, too. The single criticism that I have of the movie (and it is not a deal-breaker) is that there were serious problems with continuity. The music, the Schwinn Typhoon bicycle, the baseball glove and above all the cars place the time around 1959. The "low men" (FBI agents) drove brand-new 1959 Chevrolets. So that ought to place it chronologically for you. However mention was made of Nixon's election, which was years ahead of every other indicator of time in this movie. At one point near the beginning a very new 1949 Chevy Deluxe was parked in front of the house with a matching late 40's man's hat on the seat. But this movie had to have taken place no earlier than 1959 and could not have been much later than the early 60's due to the style of clothing that was
being worn. But, despite these annoyances to someone (me) who lived through the entire 50's and 60's, this movie does rock, but in a very quiet, understated way. It is a drama, it involves love--but platonic love and lots of human kindness. It has an element of the supernatural to it, also.
Aside from the continuity problem, I stick to my "exquisite, polished-gem of a movie" description and will further state that all the main actors were wonderfully cast and extremely talented.
One person found this helpful
Applewhite MinyardReviewed in the United States on July 18, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
Unexplained sections are revealed only in the book
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Anthony Hopkins is always good and this is no exception.
However, the novel is quite complex, with several inter-related sections all tied to the central idea.
That idea is not easy to grasp, even after finishing all the parts. The action centers around a group of people who come in contact with each other and are all tremendously changed by the experiences.
The novel title refers to, I think, the idea of the sixties, that it was a time of overwhelming change, with hopes of changing the political spectrum, but that is not so easy to do. It requires a change of heart of the entire population, and such things are not easily transmitted, or even accepted as beneficial.
It is tragic in many respects as the story of a loss of hope.
Our hearts may still be in Atlantis, the sixties, the time of immense promise, but when we confront the reality that the era has spawned, we are necessarily left longing, but our hope is essentially gone and we're left to live out our lives with what we have left of the dream, sadly, not much.
The book is stirring, evocative, well crafted. It does contain some fantasy elements, but they are essential to the tone of the story, the theme of abandonment of those fantastical elements that help to spur hope, but promise its defeat in the end.
The book will move you, perhaps to tears, but the movie is like the Cliff's Notes (Spark Notes) version of the novel, leaving out 4/5 of what makes it so appealing as a story. Some things that were kept are completely inexplicable because so much else is left out, making the eventual story muddled and confusing. It is still affecting, but loses much of that effect from the editing/adaptation.
It is only LOOSELY based on the book, to the movie's detriment.
However, if it spurs you to READ the book, you will be so enriched you will not regret this "introduction" to hope promised and then unfulfilled.
A tremendous book, a middle of the pack movie.
18 people found this helpful
Donald J. WurzelbacherReviewed in the United States on June 17, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
Very good story
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This is a nicely written and acted film about the rites of passage in growing up. Bob Garfield attends the funeral of one of his best friends named Sully and also finds out that another very good friend of years past named Carol also had died. The movie flashbacks to when the trio were children. Bobby befriends an older gentleman who boards at his house named Ted Brautigan (as usual, brilliantly played by Anthony Hopkins) where Bobby learns that Ted has a wonderful secret talent and so he is being chased by the FBI. An older Bobby recalls the events that led to the beautiful relationship that he had with Ted that changed his life. Bobby's mother whom he lives with also learns a lesson as well. This is a wonderful drama that reminds me in some ways of 'Stand by Me', another King film. However, the two films are very different, they both deal with children and friendship. This is a film that can be seen by most people in the family although there are two scenes involving Bobby;s mother and his friend Carol that may be hard to watch for sensitive viewers. But it is well worth watching and thinking about. It does leave you with a good feeling at the end even with the loss of his friends which brings him to the beginning of the story. Good film!
5 people found this helpful
RescuepetsruleReviewed in the United States on June 18, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
our Feds recruited kids, too- the 'think tanks'
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A selfish mother and 2 good friends are all a young boy had. Good movie, and our Feds did a LOT of shady things then and still do now. Then and now, if a child had/has a 'gift', they either kept it quiet or get called a Freak, even by adults. Bobby was lucky that his was temporary- people SAY it's all make believe, but their actions prove that they know it's real.
King always captures the magic of childhood somehow, as he did here and in "Stand By Me." What a pity we can't bottle it somehow- things like Alcohol and Heroine wouldn't be needed. For now we have to settle for our fading memories and stories that revive them. Enjoy!
Dave M.Reviewed in the United States on February 21, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Hearts in Atlantis DVD Review
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The DVD Hearts in Atlantis was great. It was toned way down compared to Mr. Kings book of same name. The Lowmen were hardly shown in the movie, but still interesting none the less. Acting was professional and had very good representation of kids having fun at the carnival. Carrol Gerber did not show up as an adult at the ending of the movie like she did in the book form. It would have been more satisfying had Carrol been included in the end. Really enjoyed the 60's time period and the wanting of a youngster of a now vintage 26in. bicycle built by Schwinn.
M. PellandReviewed in the United States on May 2, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Loved the book. The film is lame.
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Hearts in Atlantis is one of Stephen King's best works, in my opinion. We LOVED the book - couldn't put it down. Rented the film with great expectations. The stories were compressed to the point that they almost disappeared. Characters are rewritten to fit Hollywood ideals, all of the history of the 60s is obliterated in the film. Plot is altered and twisted....not worth saying much more. My opinion? Don't waste your time.
Mike SturakReviewed in the United States on June 16, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Mystical and nostalgic
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Hearts in Atlantis (2001) Anthony Hopkins, Anton Yelchin, Hope Davis, Mika Boorem

Rated PG13

Tagline: What if one of life's great mysteries moved in upstairs?

A nostalgically melancholic tale about the loss of childhood innocence, with an atmospheric touch of magical mystery. Other times and places and the domain of a lost era stolen by the lurking boogey men, based on Stephen King's writings.
No explosions. No nudity. No profanity.
Unexpectedly sweet and touching, yet a bit haunting.
The early nineteen sixties is the backdrop for this sleepy small town dealing with the issues of coming of age and the bittersweet journey of innocence that always slips away forever from our grasp.
The supernatural and and the shadowy are featured in a strangely enchanting but reflective moodiness concerning a time gone by.
This film is about the forgotten charms of ebbing childhood as much as it is about the mystical realm. It's a precious change from the junky trash entertainment out there.
Quietly exceptional and worth repeated viewings with its wonderfully rich reflections of the early 1960's, including popular songs.
Sadly all summers must end but its not so bad once you've had the best of all first kisses on a Ferris wheel. What's sad is the misty longing for a time that can never be reclaimed, except for those distant memories that have washed away and dimmed long ago while we weren't looking.


"Whenever it wants, the past can come kicking the door down. And you never know where it's going to take you. All you can do is hope it's a place you want to go."
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