Chekovs Uncle Vanya, transposed to turn-of-the-century North Wales, where the peace and tranquillity of a country house is disturbed by the arrival of the estates tyrannical owner and his ... See full summary »
Aging screenwriter Felix Bonhoeffer has lived his life in two states of existence: in reality and his own interior world. While working on a murder mystery script, and unaware that his brain is on the verge of implosion, Felix is baffled when his characters start to appear in his life, and vice versa.
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 <email@example.com>
The story on which this film was based originally contained references to Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series, which is set in a parallel universe somehow linked to our own. The character of Ted Brautigan later appeared in King's seventh and final Dark Tower novel, "The Dark Tower". In that novel, the full extent of Ted's psychic power is shown. At one point, he leads several other characters into a closet, from which he transports them to a far-off land. One character explicitly compares this to the wardrobe from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), by C.S. Lewis. Anthony Hopkins played Lewis in Shadowlands (1993). Lewis himself also wrote an unfinished novel entitled The Dark Tower. See more »
(at around 31 mins) A school bus with a retractable stop sign attached to its side stops and then continues on. School buses did not start using that design until the 1980s. See more »
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.
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Thanks to the citizens of Richmond and Staunton, Virginia See more »
One of the many acting skills Anthony Hopkins possesses is the ability to attract and disturb at the same time; he can charm you to no end with sly smiles and unspoken allure. But all the while he's hiding something unsettling that you can't ever quite figure out. In Hearts in Atlantis, the latest of what by now must be a truly massive box set of Stephen King film adaptations, Sir Anthony finds a writer perfectly suited to these unique talents. What we see is a movie eerie and enchanting, both in mood and in style -- a story that holds onto its cards throughout, letting you see each of them slowly, one by one, and only when absolutely necessary. In the end we find we have been held captive by a stunningly memorable and powerful film.
The story begins as a retrospective: Robert Morse plays the older version of Bobby Garfield, the central character of this reminiscent story. It takes a recent tragedy to send the older Bobby unwittingly in the mind to his days as an 11-year-old in 1960. There we go to a place common to almost all of King's stories: rural New England, where Bobby lives with his mother (Hope Davis), and spends his innocent, aimless days with his two friends Sully (Will Rothhaar) and Carol (Mika Boorem). His father died when Bobby was only five, and his mother is so busy hopefully tending to a real estate career that she has little time to tend to her only child. To this point nothing is out of the ordinary; this childhood is deliberately portrayed with hazy, warm undertones, akin to the sense of youth so familiar to many who look back upon it.
Fairly early on we meet Ted Brautigan (Hopkins), a boarder who shows up quite suddenly on their porch, his belongings in grocery bags. He is clean, well-spoken, unobtrusive and generally a placid sort. But he is also an instant enigma: he is of unknown origin, means, and intent, and Bobby's mother quickly decides this is a man to be viewed with caution. Bobby, on the other hand, innocently curious --and most likely desperate for anything that could spell the boredom of his uneventful summer-- decides this a man worth knowing. They become close, Brautigan dispersing kennels of wisdom and even offering young Bobby a dollar a week and cold root beers to read him the newspaper daily. But Brautigan clearly has a special quality about him: he can sense things and see things that are not readily apparent to most others. Bobby seems to have this gift as well, though in a lees pronounced way, and through this they form a bond, one Bobby's mother slowly and begrudgingly affords him. She's suspicious of this man still, while we the viewers begin gradually to glean some of the mysteries of his past. I don't dare say what they are, but they do involve "the Low Men", people, Brautigan warns Bobby, who may some day come looking for him. He tells Bobby what signs to look for about town, gently using the boy as a scout of imminent danger. Bobby does not know who they are or what they represent. Neither do we, for a long time, but the key instrument of this story is to make it intentionally vague. We are not to be concerned about these details, but rather to know that Brautigan has experienced them, and will do whatever he can to shield Bobby and his youth from the corrupting darkness looming behind them.
Stephen King has been widely read as an author of horror and suspense, but his best works --like this one-- work on a much more insidious level, evoking a sense of foreboding and unknown that manages to inform everything that happens within. The makers of this film find great success emphasizing the shady murkiness of the story, and they still manage to keep things centered. The mysteries of Ted Brautigan find parallels in the wonders of youth: Bobby experiences his first kiss, naturally, encounters a menacing bully, and learns to view his mother in evolving ways...grown-up ways. This is really a story of innocence and maturity, of youth's purity and the dangers that lurk at its end. Bobby finds that end to a certain degree, but along the way finds friendship, knowledge, and a sense of the mysteries of adulthood that await him. Ted Brautigan is really more than a friend to Bobby; he is a guide, a protector, and a teacher. These two actors provide real, natural on screen chemistry in this film, and there is one delightful scene early on where Brautigan intensely relives for Bobby a glory day of Chicago Bears football lore. This is an actor who can take any available strengths of writing and magnify them for us viewers who watch him say them aloud. As a result Anthony Hopkins anchors this infectious little film to the ground while still allowing it to soar skyward when needed.
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