Hearts in Atlantis

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Hearts in Atlantis Movie Poster Image
Above-average coming-of-age story.
  • PG-13
  • 2001
  • 101 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.


Violence, including rape, mostly off-screen. False accusation of molestation of child.


Some mild language.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some drinking and smoking, scenes in bar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has some strong language, characters are in peril and some are injured, and a character is raped (inexplicit and mostly offscreen). A character is wrongfully accused of molesting a child. A bully who accuses others of being "queer" turns out to be acting on his fears about his own sexuality. Fighting back is portrayed as heroic. There are a couple of chaste kisses.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjmo97 May 25, 2016

Well acted, but has some rough material.

While I don't think this movie is extraordinary, I do think it has some good acting, and a somewhat interesting story. This shouldn't be recommended t... Continue reading
Adult Written bybri j December 12, 2012

A good piece of work if not just for one thing that did NOT have to be in there

I'll just cut to the chase, I don't think this movie portrays homosexuality well at all for upcoming youth, if they would ever even come across this m... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bygraciedoodle December 23, 2012


altough i have never seen the movie have your kids read the book!!!!!!

What's the story?

It is summertime, and Billy has just turned 11. His widowed mother can't buy him the bicycle he dreams and is quick to remind him that they have very little money. Billy's mom takes in stranger Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins), who hires Billy to read to him and watch out for "the low men," who wear hats, drive fancy cars, and leave odd messages in code on telephone poles. Billy thinks Ted is a little loony, but he agrees, at first because he wants to earn money for the bicycle, and then because he is drawn to Ted's warmth, humor, and even his oddness. He begins to see signs of the low men, but he does not tell Ted. When Billy touches Ted, he gets a little bit of Ted's psychic ability. Even more important, though, is that way that Ted, like all special grown-ups in the lives of children, guides Billy to a new knowledge of himself and the world. Ted helps Billy realize that his friend Carol is more special to him than he thought, that he deserves better treatment from his mother, and that the town bully is not as powerful as he thinks.

Is it any good?

If you're allergic to the kind of movie that starts with a funeral and then goes into a flashback about a sensitive kid's last childhood summer, then stay away from HEARTS IN ATLANTIS. But audiences with an appreciation or even a tolerance of this genre will find this to be above average. It is based on a story by Stephen King. There is some tension and an element of the supernatural, but this is King's coming of age mode (Stand By Me) and contact with an extraordinary character mode (The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile), not a horror movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the grown-ups who inspired them the most, and might also want to discuss how we decide whom we will trust.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas

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