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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 28,987 users   Metascore: 55/100
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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?


Scott Hicks calls the castle ruin figurine at the bottom of the carnival fish tank his "Atlantis reference" (commentary at 37:40). See more »


The shot is flipped at the end of the movie when Bobby is riding his Schwinn bike. The kickstand is on the right side and the chain on the left (at around 1h 35 mins), opposite of where they should be (at 15:32-15:56). Also, note that one can clearly see the name "Schwinn" reversed on the side of the bike in this scene (at around 1h 35 mins). 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

Thanks to the citizens of Richmond and Staunton, Virginia See more »


Referenced in Be Kind Rewind (2008) See more »


(I've Got the) World on A String
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by Ted Koehler
Performed by Bobby Caldwell
Courtesy of Sin-Drone Records, Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

A big, fat 'wow'
6 January 2003 | by (Belgium) – See all my reviews

For some, Stephen King is just a mere auteur of horror stories. If you look closer, you'll see he is much more. Nearly all his stories are melancholic tales about the loss of childhood innocence. With a paranormal twist, but that really isn't the most important. I even think that Hearts in Atlantis would have worked even better, if the whole paranormal thing would have been left out. The most interesting aspects of the story are Bobby Garfield and his relationship with his mother, girlfriend and Ted. Whenever Ted brought up the low-men, my personal interest curve got a bit of a dip, but hey it's a Stephen King movie, I guess we'll have to live with it.

As it is, Hearts in Atlantis remains a wonderful film. It's the kind of film where the scenes in the present are filmed in gloomy blue and grey tones, and all the flashbacks get a golden sepia treatment. Sure it's been done before, but rarely have the effects been of such a shattering beauty.

Anthony Hopkins, never shy of giving a bombastic performance, is remarkably soft-spoken in this one, though I doubt that he was really interested in this movie. The star of the show, however, is Anton Yelchin as Bobby Garfield. He looks like the young Elijah Wood, with the same angelic blue eyes, and he's truly captivating. He even has genuine chemistry with the girl that plays his love interest. A big fat ‘wow' is in order here, let's hope he'll get the chance to exploit his talents further.

It's a shame this movie failed at the box-office, but then again so did The Shawshank Redemption. So let's all rent/buy this wonderful film, and boost that IMDb score.

I gave this one a 9/10.

88 of 96 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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