Hope Floats (1998) Poster


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A Better Film Than Most People Think!
world_weary_soldier24 October 2004
One of the things that truly irks me are some people's rapid willingness to typecast actors and actresses, and dump on them when they try something new. While it has to be said that Sandra Bullock does not avoid exploding buses, or have to hunt down any cryogenically frozen bad guys in this picture, "Hope Floats" is a better movie than most give it credit, and Ms. Bullock and the supporting cast put in fine performances of their own to make a very touching and poignant film.

Forest Whitaker (acting in such films as "Blown Away" and "Phenomenon" sits in the Director's chair on this one and crafts a tale that deals with many different emotional themes, carried earnestly by sensitive and character revealing performances from his leading lady and the supporting cast.

While it must be said that Ms. Bullock provides some very memorable scenes in this film (especially when drunk) the casting of Gena Rowlands, Harry Connick Jr, and Michael Pare provide more ballast with fine performances delivered from all.

But the highlight for me in this film - young Mae Whitman and her performance as Ms. Bullock's on-screen daughter. At the conclusion of one very moving scene near the end of the film I could only watch her and wonder at just how bright this young actress' future will be.

So, if blood, bombs and action is your scene, then "Hope Floats" may not be your scene, but if you are into drama with solidly acted and well crafted characters by very fine actors, then "Hope Floats" is for you. It will leave you very satisfied that you took the time to see this very finely made and acted film.
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A keeper
madisongraves15 July 2003
I'm surprised at the harsh reviews and low rating of this movie!

Unlike other so-called "chick flicks", this movie has an authentic appeal to it and a real heart. Sandra Bullock is a shamed and distraught mother returning to her hometown after being dejected by her husband on national television. She is the beauty queen turned humiliated housewife and her old neighbors don't hesitate to rub it in. Sandra's strong-willed and adorable daughter is played wonderfully by Mae West. Their dysfunctional relationship is a central plot element throughout the film. Sandra finds strength in her own mother and finds new romance with a strong, sensitive cowboy type played surprisingly well by Harry Conick Jr.

Sandra must come to terms with her changing identity and role as mother while her daughter fights for a false allusion of Sandra's husband. An impending divorce between Sandra and her husband and the struggles of Sandra's daughter and nephew, create many heartbreakingly touching moments and at last - an intriguing story with a sense of humor.

Living in Texas and having visited a few small towns, I can state that the movie's portrayal of small town life is a very realistic one which only adds to the films' effectiveness.
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I love this movie.
jlf2002us15 July 2005
This movie touched me more personally than any other movie ever. The down home country feeling just screams America and what woman hasn't been in Birdie's shoes. Heck... what woman isn't looking for their Justin? This movie has it all... love and pain... laughter and tears. It's perfect. The beauty of the country along with the small town family atmosphere makes this pure. I know I also love the humor. Bernice is the best! She has heart and knows what she wants. The fact that she can tell Justin how it is impresses me and empowers me. The music is some of the most beautiful music I've heard and it just makes this experience all the more perfect for me! I love it and recommend it to any woman who has ever been hurt and survived. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to express my opinion.
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Too dramatic to be a romantic comedy, and that saves the film
napierslogs8 October 2010
"Hope Floats" is too dramatic to be a romantic comedy. It's more of a character drama about Birdee (Sandra Bullock) moving back home and the main story line being a romance with Harry Connick Jr.

Birdee, and the film, are very down-to-earth. Although she lived in Chicago, she's much more suited to the small-town life that she grew up in in Texas. They don't go for much of the obvious comedy of big-city girl versus small-town country girl. And that's a good thing.

The young daughter can get annoying, and the romantic comedy angle is transparent from the beginning. But the natural drama that Birdee goes through in trying to rebuild her life after a public divorce is done well enough that it makes "Hope Floats" worth watching.
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Exquisite smarm
sirvincealot24 August 2002
Lensed by the great Caleb Deschanel, this buttery tale of love lost and hope found actually manages to rise above the excesses of its emotionally bombastic script. This is a weeper and the dirty tricks of the trade are apparent in all its manipulative confrontation, revelation and redemption scenes. Sweet like ice cream and sickening like a chocolate overdose, HOPE FLOATS is a delicious exercise in viewer survival.

The sun-dappled cinematography, though reliant on soft-focus, is beautiful like Romantic American oils. Shot in gorgeous earth tones, HOPE FLOATS is a stunning series of postcards, the better onto which graft the sickness of relationship disfunctions. The painterly still shot of the main character taking a photograph through a window still haunts me, as does the magnificent late sequence drenched in rain.

Thankfully for the viewer, the manichean script is brought to life with a breezy confidence by Forest Whitaker. This assured artist has worked with the likes of Jim Jarmush and Clint Eastwood, and it shows in his cool camera work and straightforward approach to material that is little better than the "reality talk shows" it twice decries. Himself an actor, the director pulled bravura performances out of his main cast.

For the real star of this show is the acting: from Harry Connick Jr's solid performance to the great Gena Rowlands spot-on delivery, it's all good. Mae Whitman devastates in her "money shot" and even the bit parts are interesting to watch. But with a glance, a crooked smile and a much improved body language, it is star Sandra Bullock who proves the real gem in a movie that sparkles with all the pretension of a jewellery store. The underplayed, devastating opening scene is worth a dozen scenery-chewing showpieces - and then some.

There is quite a bit of emotional baggage borrowed in PRACTICAL MAGIC here, but the underpinnings are far better. Fearless, engaged and precise, Bullock's performance is a virtuoso piece that makes watching HOPE FLOATS a real treat; I have never seen her more bold or more beautiful (even as a vamp in MISS CONGENIALITY) - she is absolutely gorgeous here.

Manipulation and honesty mixed in an effective, emotional pressure-cooker, HOPE FLOATS may just make you sick like a roller-coaster. But for anyone interested in Sandra Bullock, it is required viewing . ..
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Slow paced love story with excellent child performance
eleven-2915 February 1999
I actually liked this movie. Neither because of the slow development nor of the fair acting of Bullock/Connick Jr. The brilliant performance of Mae Whitman as Bernice made this whole movie worthwhile. I've never seen a child outperform her "co-stars" like that. She sure would deserve the Academy Award for best supporting actress. So if you want to see a slow love story with a very good child performance (German magazine "cinema" wrote: "...she has the potential of Oscar winning Kathy Bates ("Misery")...") this is yours. If you are a fan of high paced action movies, don't bother to see this, you wouldn't like it anyway.
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levpap20 August 2007
This film is incredibly good! Deep, thoughtful and sophisticated. Sandra Bullock would have deserved an Oscar for it (this is one of her best films) and Geena Rowlands is classy as always. I really don't understand who doesn't understand it... it was said to be "too European" - maybe, but the whole story is so American, it couldn't be more that. Forest Whitaker (of course with the great actors) was able to show us how the emotions work in a woman... the wide range of emotions. Here was nothing simplified as in the life is nothing simplified that's why this film is great. Sandra Bullock is a smart, very sensitive, very good actress who can show her talent and deepness as much in dramatic roles (Hope Floats, Love and War, Divine Secret etc.) as in the comedies. She gives life- and real life with real emotions for her characters.
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Just what you'd expect
Narelle-29 October 1998
I went into this movie last night expecting nothing but mush, and maybe a few laughs. Which I got. I did not expect the pure corny-ness of it. It was like it was following a set guideline for the cliche of this type of movie. Everything happened in the places you'd expect it to. People dying, people breaking up, bad things happening, lahdy dah, no surprises. It started off really well but when downhill from there and dragged. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it for what it was. Just don't be expecting anything more than mush. Powerful? Huh? Were we watching the same flick? Worth crying over? Hardly.
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Lots of down-home, quirky characters, but the details just aren't right...
moonspinner556 October 2002
This wheeze of a story--about a humiliated young wife and mother "finding herself"--is enhanced by an appealing leading lady, lots of camera tricks and a quirky sense of romance and fun...but the connect-the-dots screenplay really needed an overhaul. For instance, just why is that photo-developing machine continually mangling the pictures--and why does Sandra Bullock get docked for it when it's clearly the machine's fault? A scene in a bar, with Bullock drunk and babbling, also makes no sense--and later in the bathroom, while she's hanging over the toilet, mama Gena Rowlands comes in with no words of wisdom for her daughter and drops the ball. Rowlands is saddled with an infuriating character: is she an earthy soul or just an eccentric pain in the neck? Just after Sandra arrives, Rowlands offers nothing but awful put-downs. I don't know how women might feel, but Harry Connick, Jr. seems a staid and sorry excuse for a prince charming (he has no scenes where he shows us any charisma or self-worth). Sandra's kid, played by Mae Whitman, gives the best performance here, although she's around possibly too much (I did love her little glasses though). As for Bullock, she's just right in some scenes (like the one where she asks an old acquaintance for a job) and over-the-top in others. A good director would be able to scale her stridency down, but Forest Whitaker seems a novice who's not really into this story. I wasn't either. ** from ****
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Another Disappointment From Sandra Bullock
tfrizzell27 November 2000
"Hope Floats" is another Sandra Bullock film where she is the only real asset. Once again she tries hard with a sorry screenplay and poor direction, but cannot save this one. The film deals with a young woman who goes back to her home-town in Texas after she learns that her husband is having an affair with her best friend. She falls in love, of course, and all the stuff that you would think would happen does. A very ho-hum film. 2 stars out of 5.
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American dream only for dreamless people
nauf29 October 1998
It shows another choice,another way of living in which people are more important than money and in this movie you can see that slowly, when you are knowing the characters. You can see the American dream has no importance when you have more important things.
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Avoid this movie at all costs
lawafc224 April 2001
It was another saturday night alone. The wine bottle was nearly empty and I had reached the giddy heights of being bored out of my tiny mind. So, I'll admit it! I watched this film. Worse, much worse, I stayed till the end. Oh, I was a little drunk and a little lonely but its not really an excuse. OK, so I once fancied Sandra Bullock! Even so, I shouldn't be admitting to having watched the biggest load of self-indulgent garbage that has ever graced my TV. Can someone please tell me what this film was supposed to be. A romance that was not in any way romantic (the two leads do not have the slightest chemisty). A drama that wasn't dramatic. It certainly wasn't funny! Watching any film with Gena Rowlands is bad enough but here, she is simply terrible. And she is the best actor in the film!! Please do not watch this film. It is a really slow moving, badly directed, badly acted, badly scripted load of tosh! After seeing this excuse for a movie, I have decided to "Get a Life". So should you
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A guilty pleasure
juneebuggy30 January 2015
This is one of those guilty pleasure type movies I find myself watching just about every time I catch it on TV. Its not perfect, a total chick flick but also completely addictive and pretty great. Sandra Bullock plays Birdee Calvert, a Chicago wife who returns home to her small Texas hometown after her husband reveals on a talk show that he's (been) having an affair with her best friend.

Bullock is as always likable and I enjoyed watching her (get drunk) trying to put her life back together again with the help of her eccentric taxidermy loving mother (Gena Rowlands) and a yummy (in an awkward sort of way) Harry Connick Jr.

All the performances seem authentic and this doesn't really fall into romantic comedy genre(which may be why I like it). It's more of a family drama complete with all the tears laughter and love that incorporates. The small town atmosphere also really adds to this as her old classmates revel in seeing a former beauty queen taken down a notch.

The one standout performance here would have to go to the little girl playing her daughter Bernice, she is just fantastic. That scene towards the end when she runs after her dad crying "you want me" "take me with you" just kills me. Well that and Connick leaning up against his pick-up with a handful of flowers and 'those' Levis'. 12/7/14
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average drama
mattkratz15 September 2001
This movie is a basic, down-to-earth drama. Sandra Bullock learns that her husband has been having an affair on an afternoon talk show, and she moves back home to Texas to start anew, and she finds new love while she's there. Not too bad, but it gets too slow and prodding at times, which is its only weakness. All in all, not too bad a movie. Just don't expect a classic, and you might like it.

** 1/2 out of ****
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I cannot believe I wasted my time and money!
susie-1116 November 1998
Over two hours of complete drivel! Where was the tension? The romance? No where! The characters were not developed nearly enough. The father, oh bad wicked man. Not only does he cheat on his wife but also abandons his little daughter. Just in case you weren't sure that this man was "the bad guy". And there was no punishment for the man. He got to leave the responsibilities of a family and shack up with the 'other' woman.

The relationship between Bullock and Connick jr. So unbelievable. All through the movie she didn't want to know and then suddenly it was, oh, better get a happy ending in there, okay I will go out with you. Huh?

I just could not feel anything for these people. Everything has been done before and so, so much better. The direction was so poor that I saw the boom mike in two shots plus another camera in shot.

It was just not entertainment. There was a lot that could have worked for this film if only they had developed more of the story lines that looked like coming up and then were just pushed under the carpet.

I was very disappointed. And the acting was straight out of stage school. There was no real emotion to any of it.
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Hope Floats sinks.
Tim-12621 December 1998
This movie had a chance of being a good movie, but a little less than half-way through it became clear that it would be a boring little nothing of a movie with characters we cared nothing about. It's no wonder you see stacks and stacks of these videos left unsold, even at $9.99 at Costco. Too bad. It started out very nicely.

If you want a Sandra Bullock fix, then see "While You Were Sleeping" again. Don't waste your time on this one.
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What Else Floats?
gbheron16 October 1999
This movie is a real stinker. Whitaker and Bullock aim for a Harlequin romance but end up with gruel. High-gloss, well-made gruel, but thin, boring, and shapeless gruel of a movie nonetheless. These kinds of movies tend to the predictable, and Hope Floats is no exception. My beef is that it contains no drama, no sizzle, and no comedy. All of these are necessary in keeping me awake during cinematic romances...even those with Ms. Bullock. Only for die-hard Bullock and Connick fans...zzzzzzzzzz...
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Maybe so, but this movie sinks
Blondie_27 August 2002
Everyone I know loves this movie, but I am afraid that I don't. I hated this film so much that I had to turn it off mid-film because of the repulsion. Way too much time is spent on weepiness and emotional bedlam, the point of the Bullock character being devastated by her divorce is jackhammered into the viewer's head excessively. Enough already!! And why didn't we hear more about her ex-husband? He is portrayed as nothing but a suit who comes by once in a while. Something must of made her want to marry him, what was it? What is it about him that makes her so devastated upon their divorce? More time could of been spent on that rather than yet one more shot of Bullock lying crumpled on the bedroom floor. The dialogue is stilted, cliched and terrible, much like one of those corny "ABC Afterschool Specials" or something. There is no imagination or creativity about anything in this film, it is all very predictable and therefore boring. This movie also goes into overdrive on the cutsiness factor, very stupid and not funny like it was supposed to be! This is just another one of those horribly done "I am woman, hear me roar" films, much like "Waiting To Exhale". If you want to see "I am woman, hear me roar" films that are truly entertaining, original and well-done, then see "Gas Food Lodging" or "Ruby in Paradise". Skip this crap!! I give "Hope Floats" 3/10.
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632527 November 2001
Beautiful Sandra Bullock wastes her talent in this boring flick about uninteresting problems of stupid characters. If you are into soap opera relationship movies, you may find this movie entertaining perhaps. However that movie couldn't really get me interested in watching these dull movie characters fussing around with their little problems and neurotic behaviour.
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seriously under-achieving drama
oliyoung26 September 1999
Although normally my preference is not for romantic dramas, seeing this film left me a little short.

It had promise, the characters and relationships could have been explored much deeper than they did, yet the story seemed not to understand the direction it wanted to take.

The comparisions and parallels within the story, especially the three generations of women in the family, had a lot of potential, but somehow didn't fully extend itself. It could have made the film much easier to relate to and attach to which is the aim of any film about lost-love and life regained.

IMHO, I think the film suffered from a lack of direction in the writing, although Harry Connick Jnr and Sandra Bullock did try desperatly to breath a little life into otherwise flat character outlines.

It's not that this is a bad film, some parts leave you understanding the reasons for various plot developments, its just that this film is underdone, and a little flat overall.
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Poor execution of a good idea
Sloe6 January 1999
Somewhere between the moment someone said "let's make a movie about the prom queen who suffers a great loss and goes home to recover" and the final "Cut!", something was lost. Many good pieces, but the direction and editing were poorly done, and didn't leave enough glue to put it all together.

Good portrayal done by the daughter - I don't recall seeing her before, but I suspect I shall see her again. Sandra Bullock was decent in scenes with her family, but there was no chemistry between her & Harry Connick Jr.

It would have been helpful to have a few brief scenes showing life between Birdie (Sandra Bullock) and her husband, and best friend even if only still lifes showing the progression from High School to now.....it would have made the bond between them more apparent, and helped us to sympathise with her loss. As it was, both husband and best friend were simply paper doll characters labeled "The Bad Guys", and the audience is left wondering why they were there to begin with.

The constant interruption of boom mikes - in the bathroom, over the stairs, in the bedroom with the daughter - was extremely annoying, and distracted from an already weak film.

This film is not a winner. Thank you - please try again.
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jeff-9016 September 1998
If you find out you only have 2 hours to live, go see this movie. It will seem like 2 weeks.
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asargent15 April 2001
The five of us -- four girls and one guy -- rented hope floats and everyone agreed it was awful. No plot. Bad acting. Some random plot holes. Whiny bratty annoying daughter. This movie had it all... in a bad way. We came very close to not watching it all the way through, thinking it would improve. It didn't. Don't waste your time. Harry Connick Jr. should stick to singing...
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BadRon29 July 2000
Yeah, Hope Floats all right. And so does human excrement, which is precisely what this movie is. The opening of the film (I'm practically at a loss for words here) is so bad, I'm shocked the scene even made it past the first draft of the script. Bullock's sweetness is her strong suit, but it would be nice to see her in a more dimensional role for a change.
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Holy waste of time, Batman!
10fttall25 February 2003
Warning: Spoilers
**Contains Spoilers**

Yep, this has my vote for my least favorite movie I have ever seen. Thoroughly unbelievable and dull. We're supposed to believe that Daddy has been so great to this idiot of a little girl in the past, that she would scream for him instead of her obviously more loving mother? Come on... And I'm desperately trying to recall something that actually happened in this movie. The drama for me was intense anticipation of a storyline, which went sadly unfulfilled. Maybe there will be an extended special edition when the director and producers realize they made a horrible mistake and cut out the entire plot in the course of editing. After the opening, not a single thing happens except a wooden romance with a predictable happy, happy ending. Nothing really even threatens this except for internal stupidity on the part of Bullock's character. Oh yeah, when her mother dies the more sensitive among us may almost wake up....
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