Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dept. of Stumbled across


Notes on the first hour of Where The Heart Is:

I know I saw Where The Heart Is when it came out but I had almost completely forgotten this feel-gooder based on a Oprah book club selection. NP is a pregnant girl abandoned by her boyfriend in the parking lot of a Midwestern Wal Mart. After she gives birth (while living in the Wal Mart) she's adopted by the town she landed in and blossoms. This is the kind of movie where characters have names like "Sister Husband" and "Moses Whitecotton" and where Stockard Channing asks forgiveness for "fornication" at every meal. No one, including NP, Ashley Judd (who invented this character in Ruby in Paradise), Channing, and Sally Field, seems entirely comfortable playing a resident of "Real America." Being a real American means not knowing when to say no in this movie: a few scenes after giving birth, Portman's character picks up a hot mechanic and gets another pregnancy scare. (Later, the baby is kidnapped by evangelists and left unharmed in a nativity scene) Oh, and Keith David plays a man who teaches Portman about photography. David's frequent voice-over gigs in PBS documentaries have ruined him for me. Every time I see him I expect him to turn to the camera and start talking about "Jazz, America's Music." This was a particular problem during Requiem For A Dream.

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