Hearts in Atlantis Movie Poster Image

Hearts in Atlantis



Above-average coming-of-age story.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

What parents need to know


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

Not applicable

Some mild language.

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.

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.

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/Streaming release date:February 12, 2002
Cast:Anthony Hopkins, Anton Yelchin, Hope Davis
Director:Scott Hicks
Studio:Warner Bros.
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:violence and thematic elements

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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 to kids or younger teens, however. There is some mild language, and some violent thematic elements that keeps this film only for mature teens and up. Some of those elements include a non-graphic rape, two brief beatings (one onscreen, the other implied and off), a man who is accused of being a child molester, and a teen/older kid who acts out of his fear of his cross-dressing habit. Overall, I found this movie to be just alright. 6.5/10
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 14 years old Written bygraciedoodle December 23, 2012


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

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