Laughter is Harder...Friendship is Stronger...Trust is Deeper...When it Comes from the Heart.
"The story is sweet. Annle Ellingson, Boxoffice Magazine
|After gaining 15 minustes of fame for giving birth to the wal-mart baby, novalee nation begins to put her life together with the help of the kind, quirky strangers who become her surrogate family.|
"Portman and Judd are both stand-outs... Betsy Bozdech, Reel.com
"...celebrates motherhood as vocation, inspiration, and destination. Cynthia Fuchs, Philadelphia City Paper
"A heartwarming story that will win your heart. Maria Salas, Gems TV
"Heartwarming, touching and funny. The Capital Times
A lighthearted drama about finding your place in the world under the most unlikely circumstances, WHERE THE HEART IS stars Natalie Portman as Novalee Nation, a pregnant young girl who is running away to California with her boyfriend, an aspiring country singer. When he abandons her at an Oklahoma Wal-Mart, Novalee has no choice but to stay behind. She lives in the Wal-Mart until the baby comes, and the resulting birth turns her into a celebrity. As the years go by, Novalee continues to live in the small town, and eventually finds herself falling in love with the kindhearted local librarian.
Cast & Crew
"...Portman is a talented actress..."
"...[Portman] exhibits a maturity....Prewitt is handsome and charming..."
"...The people in the movie are lovable and sympathetic....Portman is quite an actress..."
ReelViews 8 of 10
In Where the Heart Is, actress Natalie Portman has found another role she can inhabit with unimpeachable aplomb. Since her feature debut in 1994's The Professional, Portman has been someone to watch, and has stolen scenes from more experienced performers in the likes of Beautiful Girls and Everyone Says I Love You. As Queen Amidala in 's The Phantom Menace, Portman became a recognizable face, but the part gave her little opportunity to show much in the way of acting. However, in Wayne Wang's heartwarming mother/daughter drama, Anywhere But Here, she shone, and, with Where the Heart Is, she picks up where she left off there, giving the best performance of an already intriguing career...Where the Heart Is is as obvious a "chick flick" as they come. All of the typical elements are in place: the strong-willed heroine dealt a bad hand by life, the abusive and selfish men, and the supportive women. However, by subduing the melodrama to a tolerable level, the filmmakers have crafted a motion picture that should appeal to members of both sexes (testosterone-crazed males, a.k.a. "macho men", excepted). Of course, men will probably only venture into this movie when prodded by their girlfriends/spouses, but, two hours later, most of them will grudgingly admit that they enjoyed the experience...Where the Heart Is is the story of someone who overcomes life's hardships despite overwhelming odds. She does not become famous, wealthy, or successful, but attains family and love - two things which were robbed from her as a child and which she has craved ever since. We spend five years in Novalee's company, but the time goes by quickly. Where the Heart Is is not perfect, but it works in almost every way that a character-based drama is supposed to. It is a simple pleasure.
- James Berardinelli
Chicago Sun-Times 7 of 10
Remember that game in school where the teacher would write the first sentence of a story and then pass it around the class? Everybody would write a sentence, but the paper was folded so you could only read the last sentence before yours. "Where the Heart Is" has a screenplay like that, zigging and zagging and wildly careening from one melodramatic development to the next. What halfway holds it together are the performances, which are convincing and deserve a story with a touch more sanity...The movie is based on a popular novel by Billie Letts, about a 17-year-old unwed mother named Novalee Nation (Natalie Portman), who is abandoned by her no-good boyfriend in a Wal-Mart in Sequoia, Okla., and lives secretly in the store until she gives birth to her child, little Americus. The baby is delivered by the town's substitute librarian, Forney (James Frain), who has been following her, moonstruck, and breaks through the store's plate-glass window as she goes into labor. She finds a home locally with Sister Husband (Stockard Channing) and her partner Mr. Sprock (Richard Jones)...Portman is quite an actress. I've been an admirer since her early work in "Beautiful Girls." Here she's the calm eye of the storm, mightily aided by Judd, who brings a plausibility to Lexie that the character surely needs. Frain, as the lonely librarian with a secret in his family, has to undergo a remarkable personality change, from skitterish neurotic to stable nice guy, but the movie is so busy, he finds time to sneak off and do that. There is a core of truth to these three and their story, and real humanity in Channing's work as Sister Husband, but it would all mean a lot more if the screenplay had dialed down its manic inventions. And every time I looked at Portman or Judd, I was aware that whatever else Sequoia, Okla., may lack, it obviously has makeup and hair facilities to rival those in Beverly Hills.
- Roger Ebert