Hearts in Atlantis


Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 30
  2. Negative: 2 out of 30

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Critic Reviews

  1. Inspiring without sinking into sentimentality or cliche, Hearts of Atlantis is intelligent, heartfelt and genuine, a rare story of childhood for adults.
  2. 88
    Rarely does a movie make you feel so warm and so uneasy at the same time.
  3. The heartfelt use of extrasensory events as metaphors for a child's grasp of adult mysteries has a poetry to it, and the unblinking sympathy for kids struggling with evil and with the strange frequencies of prepubescent passion can, if your defenses are down, lay you out.
  4. 80
    Where other King stories and hundreds of other movies simplistically exploit the archetype, this tale intricately relates the actions of its young evildoer to the more abstract forces bearing down on the adults.
  5. 80
    Yes, it's corny and reemerging cynics need not apply. But it is blissfully heartwarming.
  6. As stirring as it is slight, as effective as it is familiar.
  7. Assisted by a well-crafted script by the veteran William Goldman and a masterful performance by Anthony Hopkins, Hicks has turned two King short stories into a somber meditation on the dreams and frustrations of childhood and the ways the adult world makes its darker qualities known.
  8. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    A powerful and surehandedly crafted depth charge of a movie.
  9. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Don't underestimate the appeal of a heart-tugger that's this well mounted.
  10. Hicks doesn't always keep the story clear and compelling, but Hopkins is in top form.
  11. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    Sometimes thrilling, sometimes suffocatingly tasteful adaptation of Stephen King's 1999 novel.
  12. Too poky and contrived to be a good movie, but its lushly serene atmospherics, given current events, make it a pure slice of sentimental comfort food.
  13. The mix of psychic thriller and childhood memory movies is smooth, maybe too smooth. Neither becomes truly gripping, despite fine acting by Hopkins, Yelchin and Boorem.
  14. A film with many redeeming qualities. Its heart is certainly in the right place, but its head makes some misjudgments.
  15. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    The few who saw the embalmed adaptation of "Snow Falling on Cedars" will recognize the same stifling approach brought to this more accessible material by director Scott Hicks.
  16. 60
    The resulting film directed by Scott Hicks is afflicted by terminal nostalgic drift. You come out of the theater with nothing more specific than half-pleasant memories of baseball gloves, Ferris wheels and vintage automobiles. I've had naps that were more exciting.
  17. 50
    A fussy piece of schmaltz that makes you long for "Stand By Me," a vastly superior coming-of-age tale from King's pen.
  18. The kids provide all the vitality, but even they've been muffled by the director.
  19. Unabashedly sentimental, it's meant to touch our hearts in profound and important ways, but misses the mark by drawing too deeply from a pool of schmaltz.
  20. 50
    What's missing, really, is a point. Like "Snow Falling on Cedars," Hicks composes every shot in Hearts in Atlantis as if it were his last.
  21. 50
    What a shame, though, that the movie isn't a livelier business.
  22. Hicks smothers the story in portentous images and the obligatory memory-inducing soundtrack. The effect is like peering at a photo through layers of shellac: evocative but remote.
  23. Is it possible to have too much Anthony Hopkins? Believe it or not, the answer is yes. Hopkins' quiet power and perfectly formed vowels overwhelm the rickety, falsely sentimental Hearts in Atlantis.
  24. Reviewed by: Kevin Park
    The reason I hate this movie so much (besides the fact that it sucked) is that there was so much behind it and it still was a bland.
  25. 40
    For all the highfalutin dialogue and mysterioso goings-on, the only true mystery Hicks and Goldman conjure up is whether the mellifluously voiced outsider is dangling his new friend a little too closely on his knee.
  26. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    The movie is pleasant enough, in its studied way, and Mr. Hopkins does as well as anyone could in the role of a wise man with vaguely supernatural powers. Still, it's awfully amorphous and pokey.
  27. 40
    I had looked forward to seeing King's low men and their hideous yellow coats and monstrous high-finned automobiles, but what we've got here is less King than Goldman, and less fun to boot.
  28. 38
    It's not hell, but limbo, junior high-school style.
  29. Mush, delivered with a trembling, quasi-biblical solemnity, is what emanates from Anthony Hopkins most of the time in Hearts in Atlantis, a nostalgic fiasco so shameless it makes movies like "Simon Birch" and "Frequency" seem as austere as the work of Robert Bresson.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 33 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 18
  2. Negative: 4 out of 18
  1. JimM.
    Nov 30, 2008
    SHORT VERSION: Read the book; skip the film. LONG VERSION: I am a recently
  2. RonnieW.
    Jun 27, 2008
    Wonderful movie... great story. i wish there are more movies like this.
  3. Sam
    Oct 15, 2005
    In my opinion, this is a spectacular, underated motion picture landmark. The acting, especially Mr. Hopkins. I was impressed with how the In my opinion, this is a spectacular, underated motion picture landmark. The acting, especially Mr. Hopkins. I was impressed with how the plot was about tellepathy and real-life happenings. Not some gazer beam trying to fry the world or some terrorist with a nuclear missle that'll alter the moon's orbit making chaos on earth. No, this is real stuff people. Rape, abuse, loss of a family member, loss of a friend, and financial problems. Spectacular overall, this is one of the best movies I have ever seen. Full Review »