Projections - Movie Reviews

Hearts in Atlantis

Hearts in Atlantis

Stephen King has an uncanny talent for writing children's dialogue that rings true. His adolescent relationships are so believable (much like the kids in Stand by Me) that they remind you of our own childhood friendships.

The film begins with Bobby Garfield (David Morse) returning to his hometown to attend an old friend's funeral. While there, he visits the home where he grew up and recalls a time when he was 11 years old.

The story goes back to a young Bobby (played by Anton Yelchir - a little gem of an actor) who lives with his self-absorbed mother on the first floor of a two family house in Connecticut.

His life changes the day that Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins) moves in upstairs. The stranger asks Bobby to look out for "low men" (Ted's name for FBI agents) and to read the newspapers to him, in exchange for $1 per week. Since Bobby wants a new bike and his mother constantly reminds him that his dead father left them penniless, Bobby gladly takes on the job.

The old man and boy forge a special bond and when Ted blanks out periodically or displays some eerie ESP powers, Bobby shows an understanding beyond his years.

Ted becomes somewhat of a father figure for Bobby and, although he promised to warn Ted if any strangers show up looking for him, he realizes that the information will force his dear friend to leave town. They share a touching closeness and both actors are outstanding.

Also terrific is little Mika Booren who plays Carol Gerber, Bobby's best friend. The kids swim together in the local watering hole, hike in the hills and protect one another form the sadistic bully who makes their lives miserable.

When a story is this engrossing and magical, sometimes the scenery is overlooked, but here the cinematography is noteworthy. A fall countryside never looked so good.

Hopkins has few acting peers, but little Anton holds his own with the veteran. He's feisty, inquisitive and smart and he is a young actor to remember.

There's a line that Hopkins' character says when explaining to Bobby what their time together meant to him - that he "wouldn't have missed a minute of it", and that just about sums it up for me, also.

It is rated PG-13 for violence.

Hearts in Atlantis

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