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Hearts in Atlantis (2002)
Director: Scott Hicks
Cast:
Anthony Hopkins, Anton Yelchin,Hope Davis, Mika Boorem, David Morse and Alan Tudyk
Length:
101 minutes
Release:
Friday 8th March 2002
12 cert camera
Film: Hearts in Atlantis
Hearts in Atlantis
Based on Stephen King stories from an anthology of the same name, Scott Hicks has cut and pasted them into a 60s rites of passage film which means well, but its slow pace keeps it in a different class to the hit "Stand by Me".
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Bobby Garfield (Yelchin) is a lonely boy living with his widowed mother Liz (Davis) who spends the housekeeping money on frocks rather than a bike for his 11th birthday. Cue the arrival of 'stranger in town' Ted Brautigan (Hopkins), who asks the boy to read the papers to him for pocket money.

Bobby discovers that the avuncular man not only has a teacher's passion for books that rubs off on his 'pupil', but also a sixth sense for which he's being chased by FBI bogeymen, hoping to use his psychic skills in the war against communism.

The conflict between mother and son is made worse by Brautigan's arrival, but this potentially poignant element is resolved with a wave of the film makers' wand. Hopkins' enigmatic character is too mysterious, and subplots (involving Bobby's adolescent crush and the defeat of the school bully) are undeveloped.

The film has glimpses of charm, but it's so glossy that it feels over-dressed. As Hopkins' fairy godfather fails to impart believable pearls of wisdom to Bobby, the movie ends without the possibility of our filling in the gaps.

"Hearts in Atlantis" is in UK cinemas on Friday 8th March 2002.

Reviewed by Francesca Franklyn , BBC Films

Use the link below to comment on this film.
 
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