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Heart of Dixie
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Reviews & Ratings for
Heart of Dixie More at IMDbPro »

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16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Lightweight but earnest social-consciousness fare, bears viewing.

7/10
Author: smyrddyny747 from United States
20 March 2003

THE HEART OF DIXIE has been called lightweight social-consciousness fare. I would have to agree. If you know anything about the American civil rights movement you will not learn anything new from this movie. Nor will you meet any of the movement's historical figures. This film is not so much about the fight for equality as about the awakening of a new social consciousness in the South. The acting is solid (if melodramatic at times), and the film gives a glimpse of 1950's segregation and the lingering rigid social order of the Old South. A few scenes might be disturbing or offensive to some, but they don't strike me as being out of keeping with the setting and characters. Ally Sheedy is likeable as a southern everygirl journalism student who takes up the civil rights cause after coming face-to-face with the brutality of segregation. Virginia Madsen is believable as a traditional southern vamp, as is Treat Williams as Sheedy's photojournalist mentor. The remaining supporting cast is also credible as an assortment of good ol' boys, aristocrats, southern belles, and black laborers. I was greatly disappointed to find that Phoebe Cates plays only a minor role despite receiving 3rd billing. She is so appealing as outspoken, optimistic, free-spirited rebel Aiken Reed that you have to wonder why her character wasn't put to better use. As it is, she serves primarily as the symbol of a new southern womanhood, eager to throw off the societal mores that have held her back and yearning to come into her own.

There are certainly more powerful and compelling movies about the civil rights movement. Still, THE HEART OF DIXIE is an earnest little film that that bears viewing.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

excellent portrayal of the changing times and emotions of the south

10/10
Author: tersteel from United States
22 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I enjoyed this movie very much. I remember the time very well and the social & racial barriers that went with it. I think this movie was very accurate in showing how much the young emerging adults were going thru, what they were really like. (Much like the movie MONA LISA SMILES shows us about another area of the same period in time.) It shows not only breaking out of their social naivety but how hard it was to step outwith the awakening conscience of what is right and wrong, even when it went against what they were taught. It shows the dying embers of the old South "privileged class'" finally breaking into the 20th century.

I also think we could use more of this caliber of movie making. Where the "true stories" with accuracy portrayed. A movie that gives the generations to come something to learn from, as well as being entertaining. I think it is the best of Ally Sheedy.

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13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Great Movie

10/10
Author: bbradley39216 from Mississippi
30 March 2005

While the movie may have some moments that are not particularly politically correct, remember the movie was made in 1989 but set in 1957. At that time these were not incorrect, wrong to have happened, but not incorrect in the time it was set. Having grown up in a small town in Mississippi in the sixties and saw a lot of racial tension I thank God every day that I had intelligent parents who taught me you judge a person by the person, not by color. And the relationship between Ally Sheedy's character and the black dorm matron spoke volumes without even having to say anything. Maybe I see it differently because I grew up in a time when crosses were still burned often and the Klan marched on our court square often and awful things happened that shouldn't happen to anyone. Thanks for your time. Barry.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

The film IS worthy of viewing

7/10
Author: Rommel Miller from Baltimore Maryland, USA
15 January 2008

This film offers the modern viewer born say during the Reagan Administration and well after or into the Civil Rights Movement, a little perspective on what was the socio-political atmosphere in Alabama in 1957, the year in which "Hearts of Dixie" was based. And while this film is no exceptional film by any stretch of the imagination, it is worthy of viewing and comment on several grounds.

For one thing, it reveals the naiveté prevalent among the South and especially young Southerners of the time regarding the race issue, and especially their superficial and almost arrogant attitudes toward it.

The film portrayed these elements with skill and prowess.

The film also examined the social awakening of two of its main and central characters, namely Phoebe Cates' character for one, which was cursorily touched upon, and the role played by Ally Sheehy, the central character in the story. The juxtaposition of her supposed civility and grace mixed with her moral and ethical outrage at the act of injustice at the Elvis concert and afterwards was especially revealing and telling. And her awakening was a true metamorphosis, and the crowd scene shows this, for it allows her Southern-ness to essentially disintegrate and disappear was artful while her new self emerges and into the arms of her hero.

It would appear that the first person who reviewed and panned this film failed to catch as much.

The film itself may have been overacted and a bit contrived, that much is given, but overall the story and screenplay itself was a good and solid one and does not deserve to be panned in the manner in which it was panned. I would urge everyone to view this film with a more critical eye, which means to do so with an eye more toward seeing the film's cinematic merits and detractions and to look beyond just how the actors respond to their roles. For in just regarding an actor's portrayal, you too might be accused of taking the film a little too superficially.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

I Remember Life Like This

5/10
Author: carolanne-wordsmith from Cordova, Tennessee
10 February 2013

This review deals with accuracy, not political correctness. I was an idealistic 11 year old girl living 90 minutes from Oxford, MS, and Ole Miss in 1957--the year and setting for this film. I can confirm several things:

(1) For anyone interested, the wardrobe for the female cast is so dead-on accurate to the times, it's almost scary. When (early on) a coed flounces into the room modeling her new sweater--exact replicas of that sweater were gracing the halls in my school. The other fashions were spot on and had me reliving those years.

(2) This is totally accurate sorority-girl-college-life in this era. It is based more on Ole Miss than a fictitious Alabama school. Bit of TRIVIA--two sorority sisters who lived in the same house at Ole Miss went on to become Miss America 1958 and Miss American 1959: Mary Ann Mobley (58) and Lynda Lee Meade (59). If you'd like a glimpse into what it was like to live in a sorority house on a southern campus--this is it.

(3)Through the turbulent 60's, often Southern schools were oddly separate from the war protests and flag-burnings occurring on other campuses. I was in college in Mississippi from 1964-1968, and our campus was as peaceful as a Sunday School picnic.

(4) Lastly, re: the interaction between Maggie and the two African American cooks in the sorority house kitchen. It's more politically correct to argue today that black-white friendship, love and cordiality didn't exist--that it was never this way--but I lived it. I both witnessed and experienced scenes like that of genuine affection, laughter--and yes, even scolding--from older women to these younger pampered girls more times than I can count.

SUMMARY: For fashion accuracy, setting accuracy, and a couple of scenes depicting interracial relationships, it's accurate. I lived it. As for the acting and direction--I can't speak to that.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Should be shown on TV every MLK holiday

8/10
Author: jlf-7 from United States
22 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Needs to be shown to all the under 40 people so they understand how it really was. Also a very good "period movie". Good acting. Good cast. Great music from the late 50's. Also enjoyed all the 50's cars. Great representation of a small town in America in the 50's Great Saturday afternoon movie. Also show the pressure for girls to marry instead of having a career. Want to see it again. Will probably purchase the DVD. Are there any more movies like this? Is a sad commentary on America in the mid-century. Will we ever get past all this? Ally Sheedy and Treat Williams do an excellent job. Also Virginia Madsen pays the typical social butterfly concentrating on men instead of college grades!

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Southern Innocence

Author: gamay9 from United States
2 October 2011

I liked this film. It was set in Alabama (I gather in Dothan, home of Fort Rucker, because of the presence of soldiers).

Ally Sheedy was so innocent looking and she fit the part nicely. I was only 15 in the 1957 setting and not interested in civil rights - too busy playing ball and watching the Milwaukee Braves beat the Yankees in the World Series.

Toward the end of the film, who was the governor who let the black girl into the university? It wasn't George Wallace because he blocked the entrance and I believe that would have been at the U of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, or was it a school in Montgomery? I've been to many Alabama cities but all after the protests and riots. I still saw racism; but, that would be true in all states. How can a white person root for a black athlete and still be racist?

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11 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

The book, Heartbreak Hotel, is very worthwhile, no resemblance to the movie.

1/10
Author: lynnshops from United States
6 September 2006

The book this shameful, waste-of-time movie was based upon is actually quite good. It's called "Heartbreak Hotel" by Anne Rivers Siddons; she writes often about the South and being a mid-westerner, I'm grateful for some of the history and cultural explanations I've gleaned from her novels. Though she frequently can pour it on pretty thickly with lots of words, I find her character development to be good. That's why this movie was so disappointing; everyone was shallow and one-dimensional, there was no attraction for me to see between Maggie and Hoyt. And the sensationalism of Maggie confronting the black woman was blatant pandering and insulting to any of us who grew up during the civil rights years. Shame on the people who re-wrote a decent, moral book into this trashy screenplay! What a waste of talent and money.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Social enlightenment in Alabama.

4/10
Author: Michael O'Keefe from Muskogee OK
16 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Maggie(Ally Sheedy), Delia(Virginia Madsen)and Aiken(Phoebe Cates)are returning to Randolph University in 1950's Alabama. These sorority sisters spend most of their time worrying about finding and keeping the men they will eventually marry and become the typical southern wife. Education actually is on the back burner. Maggie awakens to the realities of the world around her; after witnessing a young black man being beaten by a crowd of whites and the police at an Elvis concert. She wishes to write an article in the college paper about racial discrimination and segregation. But she is ahead of her time.

Other cast members: Treat Williams, Don Michael Paul, Lisa Zane and Peter Berg. This is one of those cases where the soundtrack actually outshines the film. Some real great 50's music by the likes of Ivory Joe Hunter, Jackie Brenston, The Platters and Elvis Presley.

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6 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Overwrought racial drama

2/10
Author: tex-42
11 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a movie that strives to be more than it is, but fails miserably. The plot is simple. A college senior, at a southern university in 1957 experiences an awakening, and realizes that she does not want the life that has long been planned for her, with the rich boyfriend and life of ease. Rather, she decides she wants to fight for racial equality, even if that means expulsion from school and the loss of everything she has.

Heart of Dixie tries very hard, but ultimately it simply does not work. The actresses' accents come and go, and sound as if they are rejects from the cast of Gone with the Wind. The characters are underdeveloped, making it hard to care what happens to them and the movie itself drags. Oddly enough, Phoebe Cates barely has a presence in the film, but receives third billing. Essentially, this is a movie to watch when nothing else is on. Other than that, it is best to avoid it.

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