Anywhere but Here

Critics Consensus

The strong chemistry between Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman as a mother and daughter trying to make a fresh start in L.A. helps to elevate Anywhere But Here above its occasional forays into melodrama.



Total Count: 89


Audience Score

User Ratings: 39,725
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Movie Info

Mona Simpson's acclaimed novel comes to the screen in an adaptation directed by Wayne Wang. Tired of her life in a pleasant but unremarkable Midwestern city, where everyone knows everyone else's business, Adele August (Susan Sarandon) packs up her belongings to move to the bright lights of Beverly Hills. But her teenage daughter Ann (Natalie Portman) isn't as excited about the move; Ann has a sense of practicality that her mother lacks, and their shift in locale puts a serious strain on their relationship, as Ann makes plans to move away for college. The supporting cast includes Shawn Hatosy, Hart Bochner, and Bonnie Bedelia.


Susan Sarandon
as Adele August
Natalie Portman
as Ann August
Hart Bochner
as Josh Spritzer
Caroline Aaron
as Gail Letterfine
Paul Guilfoyle (II)
as George Franklin
Eileen Ryan
as Lillian
Jennifer Castle
as Girl on TV
Samantha Goldstein
as 4-Year-Old Ann
Scott Burkholder
as Man with Mercedes
Yvonna Kopacz
as Assistant Hotel Manager
Eva Amurri
as Girl On TV
Bebe Drake
as Mrs. Rush
Allison Sie
as Teacher
Sharona Alperin
as Real Estate Agent
Harrison Lindley
as Janice's Mother
Nina Leichtling
as Josh's Wife
Rick Hurst
as Reverend
Nina Barry
as Casting Assistant
Cricky Long
as Casting Executive
Lillian Adams
as Jack's Mother
Megan Mullally
as Woman Buying Car
George Peck
as Man with Luggage
Katharine Boyd
as Choir Member
Monique Donnelly
as Choir Member
Ricky Felix Godinez
as Choir Member
Shana Halligan
as Choir Member
Ian Joyce
as Choir Member
Megan Joyce
as Choir Member
Megan McGinnis
as Choir Member
Cody Page
as Choir Member
Jonathan Redford
as Choir Member
Eve Reinhardt
as Choir Member
Fletcher Sheridan
as Choir Member
Christopher Snyder
as Choir Member
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Critic Reviews for Anywhere but Here

All Critics (89) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (57) | Rotten (32)

  • Portman is excellent, balancing wisdom and petulance, loyalty and imposition...

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • As a depiction of a loving-turbulent relationship between a single mom (Susan Sarandon) and her rebellious teenage daughter (Natalie Portman), Wang's meller is nicely crafted but old-fashioned like Hollywood's weepies of yesteryear.

    Jan 2, 2006 | Rating: 3/5

    Emanuel Levy

    Top Critic
  • The movie drops in on a crucial part of their lives, follows it for a few minutes and then jettisons to another episode. It's like watching 10 short stories.

    Nov 6, 2002 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman put on an acting clinic that's a treat to watch, but, no matter how accomplished, a clinic is not a movie. They do a lot with a little, yet it's far from enough.

    Mar 19, 2002 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • You start wishing you were anywhere but here -- preferably at last year's far funnier Slums of Beverly Hills.

    May 11, 2001 | Rating: 2.5/5
  • Adele and Ann don't really seem like mother and daughter; their conflicts are more a matter of theatrical convenience than something born in the blood.

    Jan 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for Anywhere but Here

  • Sep 17, 2011
    Overlong, underdone and unfocussed despite the fantastic central performances. Full review later.
    Thomas B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 20, 2011
    Adele: Providence, Rhode Island? Couldn't you have gotten any farther away from me?  "A story of a mother who knows best... and a daughter who knows better." I like Susan Surandon and love Natalie Portman, yet I strongly dislike Anywhere But Here. It's melodrama for 2 hours and it just gets annoying. The story is that of a mother, daughter relationship. They leave Bay City, Wisconsin for Beverly Hill, California; much to chagrin of Ann(Natalie Portman). Ann is annoyed by her mother(I don't blame her), but still loves her. Adele(Susan Surandon) really annoyed me. I hated her character a lot more then I hated the movie.This movie definitely has a target audience. That target audience is any female who will cry at the slightest dramatic moment as long as it has sad music.  I guess I can come up with a few good things about this movie. Obviously it has a good cast. It also has Danny Elfman doing the score and Roger Deakins doing the cinematography. That's about the extent of what I can say I enjoyed about it. The story is nothing new. It's pretty much just a study of a mother-daughter relationship and not a very good one at that. It probably would have helped slightly if I was a mother or a daughter.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 22, 2009
    A pretty good movie - particularly showcasing Nathalie Portman's acting potential. Susan Sarandon is as usual flawless.
    Audrey L Super Reviewer
  • Apr 21, 2009
    I caught this movie I think about halfway in on HBO so i'm not sure how it started but it ended great. Natalie Portman plays Anne who has been moved from a small town to California because her mother played by Susan Sarandon who has hopes of being famous. She pushes her daughter to try out for acting roles but Anne doesn't wanna be an actress. Adele and Anne moved around alot because Adele could never find comfort in any location. This is a classic movie of the single mom trying to raise a daughter who is actually more grown up than her mother.
    shane h Super Reviewer

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