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WHERE THE HEART IS
USA & UK: Twentieth Century Fox
Cast: Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd, Stockard Channing, Joan Cusack, Jim Beaver, Rodger Boyce, Dylan Bruno, Camryn Callaway, Shelby Callaway, Keith David, Sally Field, Mackenzie Fitzgerald, Mary Ashleigh Green, Jim Henry, Richard Jones, Heather Kafka, Lauren Koslow, Scarlett McAlister, Richard Nance, Russell ToweryRay Prewitt, Laura House, Karey Green, James Frain, Kinna McInroe, Laura Auldridge, Richard Jones, Alicia Godwin, Dennis Letts, Kathryn Esquivel, Mark Mathis, John Daniel Evermore, Linda Wakeman, David Alvarado, Mark Voges, Angee Hughes, Todd Lowe, Margaret Ann Hoard, Gabriel Folse, Natalie Pena, Yvette Diaz
Director: Matt Williams
UK: 119 mins
UK: 12 for moderate sex references and single use of strong language
USA Release Date: 28 April 2000
UK: Release Date: 17 November 2000
WHERE THE HEART IS, a comedy-drama based on the bestselling novel by Billie Letts portrays the story of Novalee Nation (Natalie Portman). Seventeen and pregnant, she's sitting inside a beaten-up, old Plymouth beside her selfish, would-be musician boyfriend Willy Jack Pickens (Dylan Bruno) as they roar down an Oklahoma highway en route from Tennessee to California. But when Novalee emerges from a Wal-Mart after stopping to use the bathroom and buy some shoes, she discovers that Willy Jack is gone. All that remains in the parking space once occupied by the Plymouth is her new Polaroid camera.
Novalee moves into the vast store, keeping track of what she eats and uses from the shelves of the store so that she can pay back debt when she's able. But her hideaway is eventually revealed and she becomes famous when she's discovered early one morning giving birth on the floor of the Wal-Mart by the lonely and curious local librarian, Forney (James Frain).
Over the next five years, Novalee literally and figuratively builds a home for herself and her baby in this small town where fate has dropped her. The townspeople who befriend her and whom she comes to know form an unconventional makeshift family, the only real family she's ever known, and give her the strength, support, encouragement and love to make something extraordinary of herself.
In marked contrast, Willy Jack leads a life of ups and downs, his selfish behaviour always his worst enemy. Even when his music career takes off in Nashville thanks to the work of a no-nonsense agent Ruth Meyers (Joan Cusack), Willy Jack's bad karma comes back to haunt him.