Where the Heart Is

 Distributed By: 20th Century Fox

Reviewed by Justine Manzano


     When your friends start to get pregnant, you begin to imagine that they will give birth at the worst time.  When my co-worker was pregnant, I felt sure she would give birth right there in the office.  When my friend was pregnant, I was almost certain that she would give birth while her husband was driving.  When another friend was pregnant, I was sure it would be when her husband was dangerously drunk.  Itís a weird feeling.  You start to wonder how that would change things.  All three of my friends gave birth in the hospitalÖthe one in the middle gave birth on Christmas Eve of this year.  The thing is, after re-watching the movie Where The Heart Is, I found I didnít worry so much anymoreÖat least I never knew someone who had given birth at a Walmart!

     Where the Heart Is follows the story of Novalee Nation (Natalie Portman, Anywhere But Here, V for Vendetta), a pregnant young trailer park graduate, who leaves with her boyfriend Willy Jack (Dylan Bruno, Numb3rs) to start a new life. While on the road, Willy Jack freaks out about the baby, and when Novalee runs inside of the Walmart to get new shoes (her old ones fall through the hole in the bottom of the car while they are driving), he takes off, leaving her there to fend for herself.  Frightened and without a home, Novalee decides to hide out in the Walmart until it closes and stay there.  Her life goes on this way for quite awhile, and the endearing Novalee keeps a list of what she owes Walmart, despite that she seemingly has nothing.  In between her times at Walmart, Novalee meets the odd recovering alcoholic, Sister Husband (Stockard Channing, Grease, The West Wing) and the awkward and shy librarian, Forney (Invasion, 24). 

     After she gives birth to her baby, Novaleeís life changes.  The kindness of Sister gives her a home, the kindness of Moses Whitecotten (Keith David, Armageddon), the Walmart photographer, gives her a job, the kindness of the hospital nurse, Lexie Coop (Ashley Judd, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Someone Like You) gives her a best friend, and Forney gives her baby a father.  However, nothing is ever easy in Novaleeís life and her loves and losses will all teach her a great deal about where her heart should be. 

     This is one of those movies you love again every time you watch it.  Iíve seen it about four times and every time the adventures of Novalee and her friends make me laugh, cry, and yell at the screen.  Written with a clever witty dialogue and a strong feeling of the essence of the southern United States, this entertaining and tongue-in-cheek representation of that world takes you on an emotional roller-coaster ride.  The relationships are all extremely warm and itís fun to watch Novalee build her life and become something new.  And of course, with actors like these, you canít miss.   They all do their very best in this movie. 

            All in all, this movie is something special.  It is heart warming and touching and completely entertainment.  Itís hilarious and dramatic and filled with ingenious actors.  This one is certainly a must see. 


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