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Hearts in Atlantis (2001)



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

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
Critic Reviews: 32
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 19

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



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 23,287

My Rating

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.


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

William Goldman

Jul 27, 2004


Warner Bros. - Official Site External Icon

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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 IconTop 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.

October 2, 2001 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop 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 IconTop Critic

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

September 28, 2001
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

September 28, 2001 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.

September 28, 2001 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Above average coming of age story.

December 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
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.

September 17, 2007 Full Review Source:

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!

December 4, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

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

January 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
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.

July 16, 2004 Full Review Source:

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.

May 12, 2003 Full Review Source:

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.

March 5, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

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.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
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.

December 17, 2002 Full Review Source:

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

July 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
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...

June 9, 2002 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
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.

February 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Mark Reviews Movies
Mark Reviews Movies

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

February 6, 2002 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

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

December 9, 2001 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
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.

October 26, 2001 Full Review Source: Aisle Seat
Aisle Seat

Audience Reviews for Hearts in Atlantis

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.
March 14, 2011

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.
January 23, 2011

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.
November 8, 2010

Super Reviewer

CAST: Anton Yelchin, Hope Davis, Anthony Hopkins, Mika Boorem, David Morse, Adam LeFevre, William Rothhaar, Alan Tudyk, Tom Bower, Celia Weston

DIRECTED BY: Scott Hicks

SUMMARY: An elderly man (Anthony Hopkins) with bad eyesight and a gift for second sight moves into a widower's home as a boarder and befriends the woman's young son (Anton Yelchin), who reads to the aging visionary and learns of his mysterious power -- and the danger he's trying to escape. Set in the 1960s, this coming-of-age drama based on a short story by Stephen King came on the heels of the successful adaptation of King's The Green Mile.

MY THOUGHTS: "I enjoyed the movie but by the end it just felt incomplete. I haven't read the story, but I am thinking there must be quite a bit missing from the film, and so much more to know in the book. It just felt like the story wasn't completely told. But besides it feeling a bit empty, the movie was really interesting. I loved Anton Yelchin in this movie. He played such a sweet and honest role. The mother got on my last nerve. I felt bad for what happened to her, but she was such a selfish mother. All in all a good little film, and my only complaint is it feeling a bit unfinished. But well worth the watch for the story and the acting."
June 4, 2010

Super Reviewer

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