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Where the heart is

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Laughter is harder... friendship is stronger... trust is deeper... when it comes from the heart.

When her boyfriend ditches her, a pregnant 17-year-old Novalee Nation (Natalie Portman) finds herself stranded at a Wal-mart in a small Oklahoma, USA, town. After staking out a secret home in a corner of the store, the jobless and broke young lady finds the strength to overcome adversity and begin a new life for herself and her child.

Persons of interest

  • Natalie Portman .... Novalee Nation
  • Dylan Bruno .... Willy Jack Pickens
  • Ray Prewitt .... Tim
  • Laura House .... Nicki
  • Karey Green .... Rhonda
  • Keith David .... Moses Whitecotton
  • Stockard Channing .... Sister Husband
  • Alicia Godwin .... Jolene
  • James Frain .... Forney Hull
  • Richard Jones .... Mr Sprock
  • Kathryn Esquivel .... Mrs Ortiz
  • Lowell Ganz .... Screenwriter
  • Billie Letts .... Author
  • Matt Willams .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

  • Where the heart is official movie site
  • Studios and distributors:

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

I do believe that Where the heart is is a chick flick.

  1. The first guy you meet got the heroine pregnant then abandons her in the middle of nowhere.
  2. The first person to help her is a woman.
  3. The second person to help her is a woman.
  4. She learns to survive by herself.
  5. The next man she meets (gawky but cute) falls instantly in love with her.
  6. He helps her out but he doesn't ask her out.
  7. The next person to help her is a woman.
  8. The woman who helped her the second time helps her again.
  9. The second woman and the third woman become the best of friends.
  10. Everyone on-screen is nice to each other.
  11. There's tragedy, loss, fear, sadness.
  12. The bad guy gets his just desserts.
  13. The heroine survives by herself.
  14. There is a wedding.
  15. Everything ends happily ever after.

That said, Where the heart is is an entertaining enough film even if it does come in at two hours long. That's maybe 20 minutes too much but if you're having a good cry you can use the extra time to fix your make-up.

Natalie Portman is never entirely convincing as white trash (she's just a little too nice) but does well as the successful, independent, fully menstruating woman of today. Dylan Bruno uses his looks to advantage in the journey from poor bastard to rich bastard to crippled bastard, being both hot and horny rough trade and wet and wild country boy. Stockard Channing is wonderfully old. Most actors are desperate to hide their age and play characters young enough to be their children, but Stockard is old, dumpy and trashy (with a heart).

There's not a lot to be said about Where the heart is. It's not bold enough to celebrate but neither is it bland enough to denigrate. It's in between, he said unnecessarily. Given that there are a heap of blokey action flicks out at the moment you might like to see this to re-establish your feminine side.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Features:
    • Music video
    • Trailers: Theatrical
  • Languages: English

Security censorship classification

M (Adult themes, low level coarse language)

Surveillance time

115 minutes (1:55 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

VHS rental: 10 January 2001
DVD retail: 22 January 2003

Cinema surveillance images

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