Movie Review – Where the Heart Is (2000)

Director: Matt Williams

Stars: Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd, Stockard Channing, Joan Cusack, James Frain, Dylan Bruno, Keith David

After being abandoned by her boyfriend at Walmart, Novalee (Portman) ends up staying there and tries to rebuild her life in the small town.

When I read the synopsis of this movie I thought that it was going to be like The Terminal but just set in Walmart. However, the movie is much more than that. It’s a touching, emotional story that envelops so much of the human spectrum of emotion it’s astounding. While the film centres around Portman, the supporting characters have as much involvement and some of the most powerful moments in the film comes from Ashley Judd and Stockard Channing.

It does draw out emotions, but at times the film does feel cloying and like it’s trying it’s best to generate these emotions, so it can feel a little saccharine, but I don’t mind that necessarily. There are a few jarring time jumps, and the film follows the ex-boyfriend through his life as well, but this didn’t have a satisfying resolution for me and it felt like an unnecessary story thread.

It’s one of those films that follow a long period of a life, with all the ups and downs that can happen. It’s not going to be for everyone but if you like simmering emotional stories then Where The Heart Is is probably going to be a film for you.

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