Hearts in Atlantis

Bomb Rating: 

This film ought to be retitled "My Mom's a Whore" because that's exactly what's implied. However, "Hearts in Atlantis" pretends that it's really a coming-of-age film told in flashback as an older Bobby Garfield (David Morse) attends a childhood friend's funeral.

Back in the halcyon past (where everything is naturally better than it is now), Bobby (Anton Yelchin) is eleven and living with his selfish mother (Hope Davis), who seems to be sleeping her way up the professional ladder. When she's not flirting with her boss, she's treating Bobby like a doormat instead of a boy. Bobby wants a bike, but slutty old Mom is unwilling to kick in one dime. Bobby doesn't understand that Mom is really just a bitch, because it's just an unthinkable concept for an eleven-year-old in the 1950s, when apparently nobody's mother was ever a bitch. He discovers that later.

Fortunately for Bobby, Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins) moves into the upstairs room and Bobby's whole life begins to change, because Ted brings that magic to the world just like a new puppy or a new bicycle. Ted teaches Bobby everything he needs to know about how to appreciate life, because Ted is psychic and being followed by agents of the government who want to use Ted's abilities for their own evil purposes, like figuring how to stop Communism and get away with longer coffee breaks.

Like the emergence of pubic hair, Ted is a passing thing in Bobby's life. It seems incredibly interesting when it first shows up, but after a while it loses its luster. Then, of course, it begins falling out, and getting embedded in your socks and sheets no matter how many times you wash them. Mom, the Ho, even learns a lesson from Ted, and instantly becomes a better person and buys Bobby the bike. How idyllic! Except that in reality, those mysterious upstairs tenants can usually be heard making strange noises in the wee hours, and the landlord usually has to call in a biohazard team after they move out.

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