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Hearts in Atlantis (2001)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Mystery  |  28 September 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 28,977 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 263 user | 135 critic | 30 from

A widowed mother and her son change when a mysterious stranger enters their lives.



(book), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Monte Man
Harry Doolin (as Timmy Reifsnyder)
Terry Beaver ...
Joe T. Blankenship ...
Willie Shearman


This is a gentle, innocent film about the reflections of an aging man, who returns to his home town after the death of his best friend. Memories of life at age 11 floods back as it was a magical time that changed his life. Three 11 year old children (Bobby, Carol, and Sully) share their lives. Carol and Bobby have a special affection for one another including sharing a kiss "by which all others will be measured". Bobby lives with his mother, a bitter, vain woman who looks for pleasures for herself without sharing much with her son. Into their lives comes a mysterious new boarder, who befriends the boy but generates distrust from the mother. As time passes, the man and boy share confidences and special powers are revealed. The man warns the boy to be on the lookout for the "lowmen", who were seeking him. The two share a summer's adventures and come to love one another before the inevitable happens. A confrontation with a school bully also changes everyone. Written by John Sacksteder <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What if one of life's great mysteries moved in upstairs?


Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence and thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

28 September 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nostalgia del pasado  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$31,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$9,021,494 (USA) (28 September 2001)


£110,793 (UK) (8 March 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Scott Hicks mentions (commentary at 09:14) that, in Stephen King's story, Ted and the Low Men were aliens from the Dark Tower Multiverse. That was something he just didn't want to go with in the film, preferring to center on the story in the human drama between the central characters. See more »


Set in 1960, but when Bobby is reading the sports pages, he reads that Maury Wills is breaking Ty Cobb's stolen base record, which happened in 1962. See more »


[first lines]
Bobby Garfield (Adult): Whenever it wants, the past can come kicking the door down. And you never know where it's going to take you. All you can do is hope it's a place you want to go.
Bobby Garfield (Adult): [answering machine message] Hi, you have reached the Garfield family. Jill and the boys are away skiing, you can reach them on their various cellphones. Me, I'm going to be on the road for a few days. I'll be back Tuesday.
See more »

Crazy Credits

WV Films LLC and WXFilm Partners L.P. is the author of this motion picture for the purposes of copyright and other laws See more »


References The Boogeyman (1982) See more »


Twilight Time
Written by Buck Ram, Morty Nevins and Al Nevins
Performed by The Platters
Courtesy of Island Def Jam Music
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

A nice study of character...
21 January 2003 | by (Dallas, TX) – See all my reviews

Stephen King seems to work well with movies. HEARTS IN ATLANTIS represents the latest adaptation from one of King's novels. Actually borrowing from two stories, it introduces us to a young boy named Bobby Garfield who seems to be living a semi-normal, although simple life. His day consists of playing with his two best friends, Sully and Carol. His relationship with Carol is on the fence of being romantic. Bobby's widowed mother is too focused on her career to notice what's going on with her son. A strange man named Ted Brautigan (Hopkins) comes to their small town looking for a place to stay, and finds a vacant room within Bobby's house. Brautigan almost immediately intrigues Bobby, offering the young boy a job simply reading the newspaper out loud. As these two bond, Bobby notices his new friend has some strange traits. Ted fears that mysterious men are looking for him. It's not long before Bobby realizes that his new friend has some unique capabilities, and begins to understand why others would be looking for him. In the meantime, Bobby deals with his own desire for a dream bike, his need to protect Carol from neighborhood bullies, and his confusion about his mother's lack of finances despite her fancy dress collection. No one is perfect in this story, just like in real life. Even the oddly endearing Brautigan seems reluctant to expose his true roots.

HEARTS IN ATLANTIS is a simple tale that offers nothing new to audiences. It doesn't have the magic exhibited in THE GREEN MILE, or the emotional importance of THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, and although it's similar in feel to STAND BY ME, it doesn't seem to match the quaint aspects of that tale either. Where it succeeds is in it's ability to present the familiar aspects of the youth we've all experienced. Childhood memories are what make us who we are. This film helps us to remember those special times. While not all of us met a Ted Brautigan in our lives, we can all relate to the troubles Bobby faces, or even the victimization Carol endures by bullies. There are several familiar elements here, and that's why it works. Hopkins is appealing, as one would expect, but the film as a whole plays out in a very tame fashion. Scott Hicks (SHINE) has directed HEARTS with simplistic and appropriate fashion. He never assumes too much from the audience, which is an admirable quality for a director. What you walk away with is a understanding that youth can define you future, and memories can have a profound effect toward your outlook on life. Never judge a book by it's cover.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
hearts in atlantis, dark tower connections kt113-1
Why the poor mark on imdb ? bogdanb18
The Kid with the Bat Allardyce99
Who is Ted Brautigan? Read Dark Tower VII to find out. inmagic79
Thier deaths... mags_agd
Anyone else find this film REALLY depressing? grimsnipe
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