Hearts in Atlantis
Adapted from über-bestseller's Stephen King's 250-page "short" story "Low Men in Yellow Coats," Hearts in Atlantis is a syrupy and simplistic tale of friendship, circa 1960, between a psychic boarder and the lonely young boy of the house. Anthony Hopkins, matched up with wide-eyed newcomer Anton Yelchin, dispenses Ben Johnson poetry and tales of valor on the gridiron to the fatherless preadolescent with all the panache of a camp-free male Mrs. Doubtfire. Neglected by his self-absorbed mother, Elizabeth Garfield (Hope Davis, whose character and performance is easily the most interesting and overlooked here), little Bobby gets some much needed life lessons from his mysterious new friend. But soon Hearts launches itself into an unfulfilling scenario in which Hopkins' clairvoyant Ted Brautigan is being hunted down by a crew of baddies, although who they are and why they're after him is left a mystery--the men with black hats could be anything from bookies to CIA agents. While the "low men," as Ted refers to them, might be intended to represent a number of different themes (evil at large, growing up), their unexplained presence, like so many of the characters and story lines in this film, lingers as an annoyance more than a potent symbol.