A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie deals with the separation of Birdee Pruitt and her husband Bill after Birdee learns that he has been having an affair with her best friend on a national talk show. The separation is traumatic to the couple's daughter, Bernice, and the film may be difficult for children who have had to deal with their parents' separation or divorce. Characters drink and argue. Sexual activity is referenced, but neither shown nor discussed in detail. The film also deals frankly with death.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When Birdie Pruitt (Sandra Bullock) finds out about her husband's affair on a national talk show, she packs up her daughter Bernice (Mae Whitman) and heads back to Smithville, TX to live with her mother Ramona (Gena Rowlands). Back home, Birdie must confront the folks who have known her and her ex-husband their whole lives. As the town wonders out loud what might have gone wrong between the star quarterback and the beauty queen, Birdie tries to make peace with her mother and find a job. Of course, this being a romantic comedy, Birdie has to fall in love. The lucky man in this particular story is Justin Matisse (Harry Connick Jr.), who has moved back to Smithville from California and is working as a handyman.
Is it any good?
For the most part, it's easy, unchallenging entertainment; nothing's really wrong with the film, it just lacks distinction. If HOPE FLOATS has any lesson at its core, it's that there's nothing like your hometown to humble you. Forest Whitaker's direction manages to avoid any serious pitfalls. The greatest attraction the film has to offer is the inimitable Gena Rowlands as Birdie's eccentric, quick-witted mother.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difficulty Birdee has moving home. Birdee calls her mother "the town joke" and says she was embarrassed of her mother as a child. Do other characters in the film seem to see Ramona Calvert as a joke? How does moving home humble Birdie? Families may also want to discuss Ramona Calvert's death, as it may be troubling to young viewers.
- In theaters: May 29, 1998
- On DVD or streaming: November 3, 1998
- Cast: Gena Rowlands, Harry Connick Jr., Sandra Bullock
- Director: Forest Whitaker
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 114 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch