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Where the Heart Is

Where the Heart Is (2000)

April. 27,2000
| Drama Comedy Romance

Novalee Nation is a 17-year-old Tennessee transient who has to grow up in a hurry when she's left pregnant and abandoned by her boyfriend on a roadside, and takes refuge in the friendly aisles of Wal-Mart. Eventually, some eccentric but kindly strangers 'adopt' Novalee and her infant daughter, helping them buck the odds and build a new life.


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I'm watching this on Lifetime right now and apparently the scenes with Joan Cusack have been totally cut from the movie. I love Joan Cusack and was looking forward to seeing her in this because otherwise this movie is total crap.


*Spoilers?* this is one of the 1st movies I watched with my new best friend in college. That was 10 yrs ago, pretty sure I fell asleep while we watched it, too much Chinese takeout lol. I liked the idea of this movie and I thought it was trying to deliver a good message, albeit, slightly misguided attempt. I thought the acting was pretty good given the scattered material. I jus don't understand how Lexie, a nurse, didn't understand how birth control works. I mean 6 kids by 5 different dudes?? I mean even a person who doesn't believe in birth control would find this CA-RAZY. I also feel Willie's whole storyline was completely disjointed from the rest of the movie; he was garbage so there was no reason to continue following his storyline (minus Cusack who was really good). If the content had been tweaked this could've been way better; instead we got a step up (barely) version of a Lifetime TV movie


Natalie Portman is superb here. If there is anything that this actress is brilliant at, it's giving thankless characters a lot of emotional depth. This film is intelligent and well made, that is often moving. It isn't the best movie I have ever seen, but there are a lot of things that I really liked about this movie. There was some detailed direction, but it is the performances from the likes of Stockard Channing, Ashley Judd, Joan Cusack and Sally Field, that take centre stage. The principal characters are well developed and meaningful, however I do have two complaints of this movie. One is that it is overlong, and sometimes drags with the subplots. Secondly, the uneven script disallows the more minor characters to fully develop as they should do. Still, it is a well performed and well intended film, that I will award a 8/10. Bethany Cox.

Neil Welch

What an odd film.My natural inclinations are very much against this sort of movie. There is a tweeness about much of it which makes me wince, and I cite particularly the names of some of the characters, and the way in which, despite all the odds, Natalie Portman's character - uneducated, penniless, heavily pregnant, and beset by the very worst of bad luck - happens to fall among nothing but sunny-natured philanthropists who offer helping hands all the livelong day, tra-la, isn't life wonderful?Yeah. As if.Yet something kept me watching. I became interested in what befell these characters, no matter how improbable it turned out to be (I noted that a kind of balance was struck between improbable and predictable, with some parts being both at the same time).Natalie Portman's accent in this was rather better than her English accent in V for Vendetta.Ashley Judd, in addition to getting nearly all the best lines (Stockard Channing's "fornication" prayers were in there too) managed to look both ordinary and hot enough to sizzle.James Frain doesn't have a look which lends itself to gentle romantic lead.None of the other principals left any great impression on me.Overall, I find I am left squarely between two stools. On one hand, I can't deny that I got a certain amount of enjoyment from watching this film, and I can't readily identify why. On the other, I really, really dislike films which take place in something approximating the real world (necessarily, in order to set up the disadvantages which befall the protagonists), and which then pull happy but totally unrealistic solutions out of a hat. Forrest Gump was one such movie: this is another.