Critic Reviews



Based on 12 critic reviews provided by
The Associated Press
As with the best of memoirs, the film bears the verisimilitude of true art. It is a movie filled with small marvels, a welcome addition to the prestige films of fall. [02 Oct 1984]
Miami Herald
Places in the Heart is set in another time and place. But it becomes universal because it is also a personal story of an artist turning from the safe confessional platitudes of Yuppiedom to a more mature confrontation with the complexities in his own past. [05 Oct 1984, p.C1]
Robert Benton has made one of the best films in years about growing up American.
Much is unemphatic, but all of it carries the moving weight of conviction. And it ends on a healing grace-note which passeth all understanding.
[Benton's] memories provide the material for a wonderful movie, and he has made it, but unfortunately he hasn't stopped at that. He has gone on to include too much. He tells a central story of great power, and then keeps leaving it to catch us up with minor characters we never care about.
Sentimental from the moment the title hits the screen. But it's a nice kind of sentimentality, based on real affection for the characters and real involvement with a place and time.
Director Robert Benton effectively re-creates depression-era Texas in this moving tale that landed the second Oscar for Field.
Flawlessly crafted, Benton creates a full tapestry of life in Waxahachie, Texas circa 1935, but filmgoers may find his understated naturalistic approach lacking in dramatic punch.
The New Yorker
The film isn't just about the widow -- it's about family, community, America, and Christian love. But Benton's gentle, nostalgic presentation muffles this. His craftsmanship is like an armor built up around his refusal to outrage or offend anyone; it's an encrusted gentility.
There's nothing but sheer manipulativeness holding this picture together.

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