6.8/10
29,604
239 user 78 critic

Where the Heart Is (2000)

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A pregnant 17-year-old rebuilds her life after being abandoned by her boyfriend at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma.

Director:

Matt Williams

Writers:

Lowell Ganz (screenplay), Babaloo Mandel (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Natalie Portman ... Novalee Nation
Ashley Judd ... Lexie Coop
Stockard Channing ... Sister Husband
Joan Cusack ... Ruth Meyers
James Frain ... Forney Hull
Dylan Bruno ... Willy Jack Pickens
Sue McCormick Sue McCormick ... Cake Supplier
Keith David ... Moses Whitecotten
Ray Prewitt Ray Prewitt ... Tim
Laura House Laura House ... Nicki
Karey Green Karey Green ... Rhonda
Mary Ashleigh Green Mary Ashleigh Green ... Girl in Bathroom
Kinna McInroe ... Wal-Mart Clerk
Laura Auldridge Laura Auldridge ... Wal-Mart Assistant Manager
Alicia Godwin Alicia Godwin ... Jolene
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Storyline

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 Stephen Hughes

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Laughter is harder... Friendship is stronger... Trust is deeper... When it comes from the heart. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense thematic material, language and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 April 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Voz do Coração See more »

Filming Locations:

Georgetown, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,292,939, 30 April 2000, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$33,771,174, 3 September 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The girl who played hitch hiker Jolene who was fourteen in the movie, was actually only eleven years old when the movie was filmed. See more »

Goofs

Lexie's car disappears when Ray's car pulls into the abandoned lot. But it reappears moments later when we see Ray approaching Novalee and Lexie. See more »

Quotes

Willy Jack Pickens: I was coming to see you.
Novalee Nation: Sure.
Willy Jack Pickens: I was.
Novalee Nation: What were you going to do, Willy Jack? Go back to the Wal-Mart. Think I'd still be there waiting for you 5 years later?
Willy Jack Pickens: No. I just.
Novalee Nation: I gave birth at a Wal-Mart.
Willy Jack Pickens: Was it a boy? Was it a girl?
[yells]
Willy Jack Pickens: Is it alright? Does it have a name?
Novalee Nation: Yes, it's a girl. Her name is Americus and she's mine. You stay away from her!
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Jersey Girl (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

So Young
Written by Jim Corr (as James Corr), Andrea Corr, Sharon Corr, and Caroline Corr
Performed by The Corrs
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An enchanting human interest story
5 October 2000 | by FlickJunkie-2See all my reviews

This film is a bittersweet human-interest story with a side order of romance. The story has a country flavor, plenty of country music and a story that could serve as the film version of the typical lyrics of any country music CD. It is replete with bad decisions, bad luck and tragedies at every turn. It is sappy, corny, stereotypical, and unfortunately full of the types of things that really happen in rural America. Despite this seething despondency, it has an upbeat fatalism that suggests that at least for some of the people, the struggle against bad breaks and hard times pays off.

The story follows the life of Novalee Nation (Natalie Portman), poor young girl setting out to start a new life with her no account boyfriend. When Novalee makes a rest stop at a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma, he ditches her, literally leaving her there barefoot and pregnant. Having only five dollars to her name, she takes up residence in the Wal-Mart and ultimately has the baby there. She becomes a minor celebrity and she is adopted by the Welcome Wagon lady. The remainder of the film examines the various relationships and experiences she has in this small town over the next seven or eight years.

The story is charming and steeped in sentiment. The character development of Novalee is excellent, although Director Matt Williams could have spent more time on some of the supporting characters, especially Sister Husband (Stockard Channing). To his credit, the film was nicely shot, and the tornado scene was fabulous.

Natalie Portman's performance was her best to date. She played the part with a near helpless determination that made her a very attractive and lovable character. Her southern accent was terrible, but her portrayal of the rural southern attitude was on target. Though the part didn't have a lot of range, she was extremely effective with the emotional element, and elicited great sympathy and admiration for her response to her desperate situation.

Stockard Channing was wonderful as the eccentric Welcome Wagon lady. I would have liked to see this part expanded, just to see more of Channing. She was enchantingly warm and peculiar. James Frain was also very good as Forney. He made the character very interesting and affable. He continues to be a solid supporting actor who has shown himself to be extremely versatile (Hilary and Jackie, Reindeer Games, Titus). Ashley Judd added another fine performance to her resume, with a free spirited portrayal of Lexie.

This was a nice story with an agreeable and upbeat ending. I rated it a 7/10. Add a point if you are a woman or if you have ever lived in a mobile home. It will find its most enthusiastic audience with women due to its extreme sentimentality, but it is not so `female' that it can't be enjoyed by men, making it a good date movie.


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