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Hearts in Atlantis (2001)


Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 135
Fresh: 67
Rotten: 68

Critics Consensus: Hearts in Atlantis is well-acted and beautiful to look at, but the movie is nothing more than a mood piece.

Average Rating: 5.1/10
Reviews Counted: 32
Fresh: 13
Rotten: 19

Critics Consensus: Hearts in Atlantis is well-acted and beautiful to look at, but the movie is nothing more than a mood piece.


Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 23,304


Movie Info

One of the short stories in a best-selling collection by author Stephen King becomes this mystery adapted for director Scott Hicks by screenwriter William Goldman, who previously transformed a King story into a box-office hit (Misery, 1990). In the summer of 1960, young Bobby Garfield (Anton Yelchin) is sharing adventures with his best friends Carol (Mika Boorem) and Sully (Will Rothhaar) when an enigmatic lodger named Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins) rents a room in his family's boarding house. … More

PG-13 (violence)
Mystery & Suspense , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
William Goldman
In Theaters:
Jul 27, 2004
Box Office:
Warner Bros. - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Hearts in Atlantis

All Critics (155) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (67) | Rotten (68) | DVD (21)

Hicks ... coats the film in a bogus idyllic mist that substitutes cheap sentiment for blunt truth.

October 3, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

The unblinking sympathy for kids struggling with evil and with the strange frequencies of prepubescent passion can, if your defenses are down, lay you out.

Full Review… | October 2, 2001
Village Voice
Top Critic

Hicks's film is magical, but its magic comes not from the inexplicable phenomena we most commonly associate with King, but from the charms of childhood.

September 28, 2001
Washington Post
Top Critic

A precious respite from the postmodern era and all that it entails.

September 28, 2001
Washington Post
Top Critic

Much of Hearts feels a little empty, a little unmotivated.

Full Review… | September 28, 2001
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Unabashedly sentimental, it's meant to touch our hearts in profound and important ways, but misses the mark by drawing too deeply from a pool of schmaltz.

Full Review… | September 28, 2001
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Above average coming of age story.

Full Review… | December 24, 2010
Common Sense Media

A movie that says we might as well pack it in as soon as we turn 18 is more bitter than bittersweet.

Full Review… | September 17, 2007

What happened to the prodigious vitality of Scott Hicks (Shine): His third feature sugffers from the same stifling artistic treatment that his second did, and this one is based on stories by Stephen King!

Full Review… | December 4, 2006

Hicks' film is a beautiful trifle, a neat trick of light and sound to coax empathy

Full Review… | January 27, 2005
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

If good cinematographers are 'panning for gold' with their camera lens, Sobocinski has put his pan in the river and come back with a fortune.

December 6, 2004
Looking Closer

Hearts in Atlantis is a leap of faith with nothing on the other side.

Full Review… | July 16, 2004

The film has a lot of nice little touches going for it, and while there are the obligatory moments of heartstring plucking underscored by the stir of violins, it never really overdoes things. The only problem is, it's just been so done already.

Full Review… | May 12, 2003

You'll still come away from Hearts in Atlantis wanting to read the book, but had Hicks and Goldman got it right, you would've run straight from the cinema to buy it.

Full Review… | March 5, 2003

While this film has the potential to be either a heartwarming coming-of-age story or a tense psychological thriller, it doesn't really achieve either goal.

Full Review… | February 8, 2003
Film Quips Online

Hopkins continues to turn in one lackluster performance after another.

January 29, 2003
Cinema Sight

This movie invokes a sense of nostalgia and a yearning for those childhood friends who, as we grow older, may be forgotten but will never be replaced.

Full Review… | December 17, 2002

It could have been something special; instead it is run-of-the-mill.

Full Review… | July 12, 2002
Window to the Movies

feels a bit pre-fabricated, although William Goldman's screenplay sets up intriguing offbeat relationships between Bobby and Ted and Bobby and Elizabeth...

Full Review… | June 9, 2002
Kalamazoo Gazette

Una cinta tierna y emocionante por momentos...pero no termina por convencer.

May 25, 2002

...minor shortcomings come in its overused setting, slightly lackadaisical pace, and mildly unresolved conclusion, small matters if the movie puts you under its spell.

April 4, 2002
Movie Metropolis

The elegiac, reflective mood is treated almost incidentally, letting it earn a reaction naturally

March 17, 2002

I will not deny that it left me with a very nice feeling throughout.

Full Review… | February 26, 2002
Mark Reviews Movies

The movie is light years behind the touching celebration of youth found in Stand By Me.

Full Review… | February 6, 2002
Matinee Magazine

Likeable, nostalgic movie that walks a smooth tightrope between a coming-of-age tale and a dark, long-forgotten Twilight Zone episode.

Full Review… | December 9, 2001
Film Journal International

As I write this review, I find myself growing nostalgic for the film. I want to walk away from my computer and see it again right now. It's just that good.

Full Review… | October 26, 2001
Aisle Seat

Audience Reviews for Hearts in Atlantis

Hearts in Atlantis is a great example of the lighter Stephen King novels that deal with childhood. It is fairly unmistakable as a Stephen King story, so that is to Scott Hick's credit. Based on a short story, it does seem somewhat stretched and overlong with the conclusion coming just in time before loosing all interest. Some sub-plots aren't explained though and many of the issues raised at the beginning are never returned to, which I found overwhelmingly unsatisfying. That said, I thought that Hopkins, Yelchin and Davis were all very good and it was nice to see Stephen King adaptation favorite David Morse carry the torch as it were. It's not great, I much preferred the book but as most King adaptations go, it isn't bad at all.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

Another surprise story from Stephen King! So many things about the boy's Mom upsets me. Even though "bogiemen" are the obvious villains, I find the Mom the real villain.

Thomas Johnston

Super Reviewer


I'm always apprehensive when it comes to one of King's adaptations. King's books are rich and complex narratives, and much of that is lost in the transition to the screen. Hearts in Atlantis, however, was a decent adaptation. The book is a spin-off of the Dark Tower series, but is a decent stand-alone book (I read it before the Dark Tower series and really enjoyed it). The book tells three intertwined stories, and the movie really only focuses on one of them. The main thing I noticed that may detract from the film, is that it never really explains anything. Therefore, I think the film makes a good companion piece to the book, but people who haven't read the book may be left feeling confused and unfulfilled.

Summer W.

Super Reviewer


Most of Stephen King's books involve the supernatural somehow. After a while, that gets to me - our world is not a world where much is supernatural. But in some of Stephen King's stories, I don't mind the supernatural aspects - stories like The Green Mile, and this one.

Ted (very well played by Anthony Hopkins) comes into Bobby's life and provides a needed father figure. He guides Bobby through the best summer of his youth.

Red Lats

Super Reviewer

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