The Whole Wide World

1996

The Whole Wide World

Critics Consensus

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76%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 17

72%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,885
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The Whole Wide World Photos

Movie Info

A touching and unusual love story, The Whole Wide World was based on a memoir by Novalyne Price Ellis, in which she recalled her brief romance with Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian and one of the finest and most prolific pulp writers of his day. In 1933, Novalyne Price (Renee Zellweger) is a pretty but shy Texas schoolteacher who would like to be a writer some day. A friend offers to introduce her to Howard (Vincent D'Onofrio), who writes broad, bold yarns about superhuman heroes and damsels in distress and has little patience for writers of more pretentious fiction. Novalyne likes Howard and he seems to like her, but she finds him a hard man to deal with. He lives in the world of his stories, and he devotes as much time as possible to his bedridden mother, which leaves him little time to pursue a romance. But when Howard discovers that another man has been courting Novalyne, he's heartbroken -- even if they didn't have a conventional romance, he felt there was a special emotional bond between them, and he hates to see it thrown away. Renee Zellweger and Vincent D'Onofrio both deliver fine performances and are a believable (if unconventional) romantic couple; D'Onofrio also co-produced.

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Critic Reviews for The Whole Wide World

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (4)

  • I felt like I was watching two different movies.

    Aug 16, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Novalyne is Renee Zellweger, who was magical as Tom Cruise's romantic partner in Jerry Maguire and is charming here, too, as a small-town school teacher who dreams of being a writer.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Invest some patience and you'll be richly rewarded with rolling frontier vistas, butterscotch sunsets and a sweet, melancholy romance that will sneak up on you and grab your heart.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4
  • It adroitly conveys author Robert E. Howard's slow disconnect from the world, and the effect that had on those around him.

    Jan 24, 2003 | Rating: 3/5
  • "well-acted and moving"

    Jul 29, 2002 | Rating: 3/5
  • Robert E. Howard himself may have been a more interesting character than any of his fantastic creations

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Whole Wide World

  • Jan 09, 2013
    Not a bad picture. This is back in the days when Renee Zellweger was tolerable. Period pictures don't stay with me for the most part however and that is my sentiment about this one. I stopped thinking about it once it was done.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • May 07, 2012
    Nicely done bio-drama based on the book written by Novalyn Price Ellis. It's about time we witnessed a woman making a decision about a man via her head, not her heart. She loved him, but he was just too damaged. From what I have read about this writer, he was quite a talented, yet strange man. This is an enjoyable glimpse into the life of an amazing and complex man and the woman who, aside from his own mother, probably knew him best.
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 27, 2008
    Great performances from D'Onofrio and Zellweger.
    Anthony V Super Reviewer
  • Jul 31, 2007
    I liked the Movie. But really sad End.
    Lilo C Super Reviewer

The Whole Wide World Quotes

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