Hearts in Atlantis

  • Review Date: May 7, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Above-average coming-of-age story.
  • Review Date: May 7, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Violence

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

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Some mild language.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking and smoking, scenes in bar.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:September 28, 2001
DVD release date:February 12, 2002
Cast:Anthony Hopkins, Anton Yelchin, Hope Davis
Director:Scott Hicks
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Drama
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:violence and thematic elements

This review of Hearts in Atlantis was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written bygraciedoodle December 23, 2012
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

READ THE BOOK

altough i have never seen the movie have your kids read the book!!!!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bybri j December 12, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

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 movie to begin with. Being that the antagonist in this movie was a boy who Anthony Hopkins character basically blackmails because of how he "dressed in his mothers clothes" and later in the film they show this much older boy beat the hell out of some little girl with a baseball bat. For young children who take things literally, especially like the age I was when I first saw this…this can be easily taken out of context. Why did this cowardly bully have to be gay? I've noticed homophobic traces of this type of stuff a lot in movies based off Stephen King novels. I'm not sure what that means. I just think its just really sad that homophobia is still being incorporated into films made in recent years, and are still being overlooked.
What other families should know
Too much violence

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