Hearts in Atlantis

Anthony Hopkins, Anton Yelchin.
Directed by Scott Hicks.
Running Time: 101 mins
Rated: M

Bobby's (Yelchin) father died when he was five. He is now eleven. His mother (Hope Davis) coped with a poor marriage and an early widowhood by buying herself dresses and drinking too much. She neglects her son.

Bobby's salvation lies in his closest mates, Carol (Mike Boorem) and Sully (Will Rohthaar). Out of nowhere Ted (Hopkins) arrives to become the new lodger in the flat above Bobby's house. He employs Bobby to read the newspaper to him and to keep on the look-out for men in black cars who are coming to get him. For a short time, Ted becomes Bobby's surrogate father and helps him work out what adulthood is about.

Hearts in Atlantis is based on a Stephen King novel and so has the mysticism and themes about higher perception we could expect. Ted is like a guardian angel in Bobby's life who materialises and vanishes as required.

Even though there are some hard realities that Bobby and his mother must confront, Hearts in Atlantis is a warm, feel-good film. Set in 1960, this film is beautifully shot and the production values are of the highest order.

The three young actors are all excellent, especially Anton Yelchin as Bobby. Sadly, however, the fall out from the Hannibal films means I cannot watch Sir Anthony Hopkins now without seeing the psychopathic Dr Lector lurking somewhere behind. This is a great shame for a fine actor.

Hearts in Atlantis is a parable about the power of memory, dealing with the past so as to embrace the future, confronting the present "wishing won't make it otherwise" and how many children have to grow up far too early.

For those who do, it be nice to think there was a 'Ted who lives upstairs' to guide them through the roughest patch.

Richard Leonard SJ

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