Hearts in Atlantis [2001]

Genre: Drama, Mystery
Fans of The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption will feel a similar affection for Hearts in Atlantis, a Stephen King adaptation that again finds the horror writer in more mainstream waters, with a bit of dabbling in the supernatural. When mysterious out-of-towner Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins) moves into the boarding house that 11-year-old Bobby Garfield (Anton Yelchin) shares with his self-involved mother (Hope Davis), Bobby jumps at the chance to befriend an adult who talks to him straightforwardly. Ted enlists Bobby to read him the newspaper daily--and to keep an eye out for the "low men" bent on capturing Ted, who possesses a strange mind-reading power. Hopkins is in fine form, ably matched by the phenomenal young Yelchin, but director Scott Hicks (Shine) more often than not flattens out the dramatic arcs of the story, despite all the intriguing turns the film takes. Thankfully, though, the schmaltz factor is kept to a minimum, making Hearts in Atlantis a heartfelt coming-of-age drama. --Mark Englehart

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