Hope Floats

Movie review by
Carly Kocurek, Common Sense Media
Hope Floats Movie Poster Image
Redemptive drama ready made for family viewing.
  • PG-13
  • 1998
  • 114 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Birdee grabs her daughter Bernice's arm during an argument. A classmate beats Bernice up after class.


Birdee works in a 1-hour photo lab.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In one scene, Birdee gets drunk at the local bar and stays out all night.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bySandra R. June 28, 2017

Awesome movie

I love this movie. I have seen it so many times. I love it. It's one of my all-time favorites. It's right up there with dirty dancing. Practical magic... Continue reading
Parent of a 14 and 17-year-old Written bylightandlife March 13, 2017

A loved movie I've watched dozens of times

I've seen Hope Floats at least twenty times. It's my comfort movie that I watch when I am in the mood to be moved and cry. It's got beautiful m... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byIzzy882 May 21, 2020
Teen, 14 years old Written byFutureCritic July 23, 2011

Waste of Time

This movie was just stupid. I hated all of the characters. There's really nothing left to say other than Sandra Bullock can't do a half decent souther... Continue reading

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.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

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