Novalee Nation is a pregnant 17-year-old from Tennessee heading to California with her boyfriend Willie Jack, but is abandoned by him at a Wal-Mart store in Sequoyah, Oklahoma. Novalee has no job, no skills and only $5.55 in her pocket, so she secretly lives in the Wal-Mart until her daughter Americus is born six weeks later. Novalee decides to raise her daughter and rebuild her life in Sequoyah, with the help of eccentric but kind strangers. Based on the best-selling novel by Billie Letts.Written by
I have to admit having a bias towards sci-fi, action adventure, mystery, conspiracy films, etc. I have sat through "Steel Magnolias" and "Fried Green Tomatoes" with my wife, and while I can admit they are well-made movies, I have never been too keen on movies with an all-female or predominantly female cast. I have also never cared much for Sally Fields' movies. (Perhaps I always think of her from the "Bandit" movies...) My first impression from all the trailers was that "Where the Heart Is" was nothing more than another "chick-flick" that I would, no doubt, find well-produced, but forgettable. I was wrong.
Natalie Portman registers a great performance as a meek and downtrodden pregnant teen who learns early in life that "our lives can change with every breath." Ashley Judd puts in an Oscar worthy performance in her supporting role as the older, married friend who has trouble finding the right man to be the father of her children. Stockard Channing plays the unforgettable "Sister Husband" who takes the young girl and her newborn child in, and Sally Fields makes a momentary appearance as the young girl's absentee mother, one of the highlights of the film. Fields has deepened my respect for her as an actress with her five minutes of film time like no other actor/actress ever has. Joan Cusack appears as a talent manager in the film's sub-plot and is phenomenal in her brief on-screen time as well. Yes, there are men in the film, veteran David Keith and James Frain among them, but for the most part, this film relies on the vision of the world through the eyes of its female leads. I loved this film- the comedy, the drama, the love story... I laughed, and although I hate to admit it, being a tough guy and all, I cried - several times - during this wonderful film about learning to be content with what we have and learning to appreciate how unique and special everyone and everything is.
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