Hearts in Atlantis (2001)



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

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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. Bobby's self-absorbed, widowed mother Liz (Hope Davis) couldn't care less about her son, so Bobby, who is being tormented by local bullies, quickly befriends the otherworldly Ted, becoming his confidante, and reading the paper to him to save the aging man's failing eyesight. Soon, Bobby learns that Ted possesses supernatural gifts, has a haunted past, and is being pursued by sinister men whose intentions are unclear. Hearts in Atlantis co-stars David Morse, who appeared in the previous King adaptation The Green Mile (1999), as the adult Bobby.
PG-13 (violence)
Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
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Anthony Hopkins
as Ted Brautigan
Hope Davis
as Liz Garfield
David Morse
as Bobby Garfield (adult)
Mika Boorem
as Carol Gerber
Adam LeFevre
as Donald Biderman
Celia Weston
as Alanna Files
Timmy Reifsnyder
as Harry Doolin
Deirdre O'Connell
as Mrs. Gerber
Tom Bower
as Len Files
Timothy Reifsnyder
as Harry Doolin
Anton Yelchin
as Bobby Garfield
Wes Johnson
as Sports Announcer
Terry Beaver
as Mr. Oliver
Joe T. Blakenship
as Richie O'Rourke
Alan Tudyk
as Monte Man
Brett Fleisher
as Willie Shearman
Eric Eggen
as Coast Guardsmen at Carnival
Bourke Floyd
as Lowman
Joel F. Haberli
as Sully's Dad
Kathie France
as Rider at Carnival
Evan Moses
as Sully's Little Brother
Sara Jane Hamilton
as Hot Dog Vendor at Carnival
Valerie Karasek
as Sully's Widow
Jim Hild
as Lowman
Kristina Lash
as Carousel Rider at Carnival
Graham Bardsley
as Minister
Keith H. Beyer
as Soldier at Funeral
Robert V. Maine
as Soldier at Funeral
David Rivitz
as Shady Vendor
Sean Edwards
as Soldier at Funeral
Mickey Leon McBride
as Soldier at Funeral
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Critic Reviews for Hearts in Atlantis

All Critics (136) | Top Critics (32)

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.

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.

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

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.

Thomas Johnston
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.
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
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

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