6.8/10
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Where the Heart Is (2000)

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A pregnant 17-year-old rebuilds her life after being abandoned by her boyfriend at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma.

Director:

Matt Williams

Writers:

Lowell Ganz (screenplay), Babaloo Mandel (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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4,067 ( 835)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Natalie Portman ... Novalee Nation
Ashley Judd ... Lexie Coop
Stockard Channing ... Sister Husband
Joan Cusack ... Ruth Meyers
James Frain ... Forney Hull
Dylan Bruno ... Willy Jack Pickens
Sue McCormick Sue McCormick ... Cake Supplier
Keith David ... Moses Whitecotten
Ray Prewitt Ray Prewitt ... Tim
Laura House Laura House ... Nicki
Karey Green Karey Green ... Rhonda
Mary Ashleigh Green Mary Ashleigh Green ... Girl in Bathroom
Kinna McInroe ... Wal-Mart Clerk
Laura Auldridge Laura Auldridge ... Wal-Mart Assistant Manager
Alicia Godwin Alicia Godwin ... Jolene
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Storyline

Novalee Nation is a pregnant 17-year-old from Tennessee heading to California with her boyfriend Willie Jack, but is abandoned by him at a Wal-Mart store in Sequoyah, Oklahoma. Novalee has no job, no skills and only $5.55 in her pocket, so she secretly lives in the Wal-Mart until her daughter Americus is born six weeks later. Novalee decides to raise her daughter and rebuild her life in Sequoyah, with the help of eccentric but kind strangers. Based on the best-selling novel by Billie Letts. Written by Stephen Hughes

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Discover where the emotion is...the friendship is...and the laughter is... See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense thematic material, language and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 April 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Voz do Coração See more »

Filming Locations:

Georgetown, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,292,939, 30 April 2000

Gross USA:

$33,771,174
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joan Cusack's character does not appear in the TV version. See more »

Goofs

When Novalee visits Willie Jack at the hospital, you can see a shadow of his foot under the bed. See more »

Quotes

Novalee Nation: Oh, I got money. The president of Wal-Mart gave me five hundred dollars.
Mama Lil: Why, he's not the father of the baby, is he?
Novalee Nation: No.
Mama Lil: Ah, shit.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Blackcatloner Reviews: Old Fashioned (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Only You (And You Alone)
Written by Buck Ram and Buck Ram (as Andre Rand)
Performed by Lonestar
Produced by Dan Huff
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Strong Start That Slowly Fades Away
4 September 2001 | by sddavis63See all my reviews

For the first 1:15 or so, I was really enjoying this sweet and funny movie about a young girl (Novalee, played by Natalie Portman) dealing with being pregnant and unmarried, who is abandoned by her boyfriend (Dylan Bruno) and takes up residence (unknown to anyone) in a local Wal-Mart. After giving birth to the baby in the store, she is swindled and abandoned by her mother (Sally Field) but survives and flourishes thanks to the kindness of some rather eccentric strangers.

So far, so good. Very enjoyable. But the last 45 minutes or so really unravelled rather quickly. I questioned the need to continually bring us back to Willie Jack's (the baby's father) attempts to get a singing career going. None of his scenes really served to advance the plot in any way, and quite frankly, the guy was a loser who abandoned his pregnant girlfriend. I didn't care what happened to him - even though some of what happened was poetic justice - and the movie could have been shortened by 20 or 30 minutes - without losing a thing - if all his scenes had been simply cut. I also felt that it was totally unnecessary to include (albeit - thankfully - only for a few minutes) a theme about child molestation. Where did that come from and why? It made a relatively enjoyable movie very heavy, and it was a heaviness that - for me at least - never really disappeared. The end of the movie (revolving around the relationship between Novalee and Forney (James Frain) was also telegraphed quite early on.

Having made those criticisms, the real highlight of the movie for me was Natalie Portman as Novalee. I wasn't familiar with this young actress until now, but she was marvellously cast as the sweet, innocent, naive young Novalee, and then showed a wonderful capacity to show her character evolve into a mature and independent young woman. (I have to say that, while the movie seemed to be trying to say she was a great mother, she seemed to spend a lot of time away from little Americus, but that's a minor point.) Portman was excellent, and I will look forward to seeing her again.

This rates a 6/10. Would have been higher, except for the weak second half.


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