Manual Where The Heart Is

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Novalee is lucky to have landed in a town populated exclusively by character actors. Everyone in Sequoia, and indeed everyone in her life, is a salt-of-the-earth, good ol' eccentric, and that surely includes her new best friend Lexie Coop Ashley Judd , who is always going and getting herself pregnant.

When Novalee names her new baby Americus, Lexie is impressed. She names her kids after snacks: Praline, Baby Ruth, etc. The people in the movie are lovable and sympathetic, and if they live in a world of folksy fantasy, at least it looks like a good place to live. For example, Novalee makes a friend of Moses Whitecotton Keith David , a photographer in the Wal-Mart, and soon she's exhibiting talent as a gifted photographer.

But the characters have to negotiate the plot like runners through a minefield, as one weird and improbable situation after another comes up. At one point, Novalee is about to be sucked up into the funnel cloud of a tornado and clings upside-down to the steps of the storm shelter with the fingertips of one hand while snatching little Americus as the child is about to be blown past her. Uh, huh. There are times when you wonder, how self-aware are these people?

Sister Husband is wonderfully played by Channing, who brings humanity and warmth to the character, but what's with her blessing before meals? Sprock and I have committed again this morning right here on this very kitchen table. Or is she being sincere? God has to forgive a lot of fornicating in this movie. Lexie, the Judd character, is forever taking up with the wrong man.

Where The Heart Is Releases & Artists on Beatport

She seems to be the town nurse, but has an imperfect understanding of birth control, not to mention abysmal taste in men until at last she meets Ernie the Exterminator. Novalee's own unorthodox delivery gets on the TV news and attracts the attention of devout folks from as far away as Midnight, Miss.

The symbolism of this act is elusive; it could as easily be sacrilegious as disapproving. Novalee's first boyfriend, the father of her child, is the no-good, would-be country singer Willy Jack Pickens Dylan Bruno. After he abandons her, he's arrested while in the company of a year-old hitchhiking thief and is sent off to prison. Meanwhile, the story follows later developments in Willy Jack's case, as he signs with a hard-boiled talent agent Joan Cusack.

By now I'm ducking down in my seat to keep out of the line of fire of the plot. Joan Cusack is sensational as a music promoter who has seen it all and has no illusions. Sally Fields contributes a magnificent cameo as Novalee's wayward mother. Just the way she smokes a cigarette tells us everything about her life since she left home. And Stockard Channing makes us see how Sister Husband's life may have left her a little addled on minor details, but utterly clear about the important things. Families can talk about one character's view that people lie because they are "scared or crazy or just mean," about another character's statement that "home is where they catch you when you fall" and about what makes it possible for some people to survive deprivation and tragedy.

They should also talk about what made it difficult for Lexie and Novalee to accept love from good men. And they should talk about the extraordinary kindness the characters show each other, particularly the thoughtful way that Sister Husband invites Novalee and her baby to live with her, making it sound as though Novalee is doing her the favor. Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support. Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential. Learn how we rate.

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A chick flick that's as yummy as eating bon-bons. PG minutes. Rate movie. Watch or buy. Based on 1 review. Based on 7 reviews. Get it now Searching for streaming and purchasing options Common Sense is a nonprofit organization. Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free. Get it now on Searching for streaming and purchasing options X of Y Official trailer.

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A lot or a little? The parents' guide to what's in this movie. Many sexual references, main character is a pregnant teenager, other out of wedlock children.

Where The Heart Is

Some strong language. A character abuses alcohol and drugs. Another attends AA meetings.

HAEVN - Finding Out More

What parents need to know Parents need to know that this movie has some strong language and that Novalee and Lexie have children without being married. Continue reading Show less. Stay up to date on new reviews. Get full reviews, ratings, and advice delivered weekly to your inbox. User Reviews Parents say Kids say.


Parent Written by lenny l. December 17, I thought this film was a great film to watch as an adult and with your older teen children depending on maturity. It provokes great life lessons. Contrary to o Continue reading. Report this review.