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Where the Heart Is
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd, Stockard Channing
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Web Site:
Kiddie Movie: She'll bring you along because you made her see "U-571."
Date Movie: The teenage girls in front of me got bored.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: Talked about, and Lexie gets a shiner.
Action: A scary tornado scene.
Laughs: Some chuckles here and there.
Memorable Scene: Nah.
Memorable Quote: Nah.
Directed By: Matt Williams
Produced By: Susan Cartsonis, David McFadzean, Patricia Whitcher

Where the Heart Is
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - PG-13

It's 2:00 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
I had many thoughts as I was leaving "Where the Heart Is." One was that I still like Ashley Judd. Another was that I still think Natalie Portman has a killer smile. Another was that I want to find the Wal-Mart with such lax security. Another was that "Where the Heart Is" was a pretty decent movie. And lastly, who came up with names in this movie? Maybe it’s my Catholic, northern upbringing, but what kind of names are Novalee, played by Natalie Portman, Americus as Novalee’s baby, Sister Husband (Stockard Channing), the kind-hearted lady who takes Novalee in, and Forney (James Frain), Novalee’s love interest. I focus on the weirdest things sometimes.

Anyway, "Where the Heart Is" tells Novalee’s story, and her baby’s father’s story (Willy Jack Pickens played by Dylan Bruno), in a series of forward progressions following the lives of the both of them from the moment they go off together, to the time Willy Jack leaves her at Wal-Mart, to the time they find each other again. Willy Jack’s path is simple – he picks up a teenager, ends up in jail, tries to be a singer, and ends up still a loser. Novalee’s path is simple too – she lives in Wal-Mart for a little while, has a baby, gets befriended by Lexie (Ashley Judd) who has no luck with men but is a baby-making machine, and ends just her liking living in a small town. Sure, there are other things in the movie, like the struggles of being a single mom, pedophiles, crazy bible people, a corrupt music industry, dealing with mentally challenged siblings, mother nature's wrath, and love. How’s that for a movie?

I won’t go into "Where the Heart Is" too much, but it is a nice story with a couple of neat twists thrown in, but from the reaction of the two teenage girls in front of me in the theater, it’s about 20 minutes too long and didn’t need the pedophile story. Why do I say that? Because with about 20 minutes left to go they became disinterested in the movie and decided that throwing popcorn back and forth at each other was more interesting than Novalee finally realizing who she really loved. Maybe they lost interest because the movie kept going back and forth between Novalee and Willy Jack, which, as I thought about it, after Willy Jack left Novalee at the Wal-Mart, I could have cared less about the loser. Or maybe they lost interest because the ending was pretty obvious (not the ending I would have made – the more realistic one of Novalee going back with Willy Jack and him still treating her like shit because that’s what nice girls like Novalee do – keep going back to the assholes.) So, in the end it became just another movie with a happy ending.

And on that note I’ll give "Where the Heart Is" 3 ½ stars out of 5. There was some potential for kicking it up a notch or two, but in the end it was just a nice movie.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!


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