My heart's in it

I like this movie, your prototypical chick flick.

When this was in the theaters, ol' SillyconJester chose to go see Gladiator instead of this one with me and a mutual friend. Sissy boy.

Novalee Nation (Natalie Portman) is unceremoniously left at a Wal-Mart by her jerk boyfriend. And she's pregnant. She ends up staying at the Wal-Mart and gives birth there, and further misfortune follows. Perhaps this appeals to me from reading some book, "From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" as a kid, wherein two children run away and take up house in a museum for a time.

There's joy and sadness and insight and drama and small town commentary. Most of it pays off pretty well, sometimes we're at borderline melodrama.

There's also someone I know who saw it and was very unhappy with how it turned out. The most direct quote I can come up with now is "Things like that don't happen in real life". It's been a while, but I believe she was referring to a somewhat unlikely inheritance that Novalee gets in the middle of the movie. As I think about it now, sure it's unlikely, but the movie in no way is dependent on it. I feel like the comment was half personal, half being affronted on behalf of those with children who have to struggle alone.

Portman shows promise as an actress, moving from a 14-17 year old with the standard american accent, to this early twenties mother speaking with a southern accent, within about a year. I take her appearance in Phantom Menace not so much as proof of talent, but perhaps of her ability to keep her head in a high-profile and stressful environment. Anyway, there's a lot more room to grow, but I like the signs here.

Where the Heart Is is not without its problems. The whole side story with Willy Jack feels weak, and somewhat unfair, in fact. It's like the film has a very strict line between its sympathetic and unsympathetic characters. It cleans it up a bit in the end, but the film ends up breaking its own rules in a very offhand way, which isn't fair to the audience.

But I'm still a sucker for this sort of thing.

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