Hope Floats

“…when you find yourself at a new beginning…Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will, too…” In this powerfully rich 1998 film, you find yourself wanting to reach into the screen and lift up Sandra Bullock, as Birdee Pruitt, or give her a shoulder to lean on. Directed by Forest Whitaker, this film includes an impressive performance by the accomplished actress Gena Rowlands, as Ramona Calvert, a heart-warming performance by Harry Connick Jr, as Justin Matisse, and an award winning performance (1999 Young Artists Award Winner for Young Actress Age Ten or Under) by up and comer Mae Whitman, as Bernice Pruitt. This heart-warming tale is made even more touching with the down home feel of being set in a small
Texas town.

 Like an episode of Maury, Birdee Pruitt finds out that her best friend has been sleeping with her husband. Birdee takes her daughter, Bernice, and heads toward her hometown in Texas from
Chicago. As the former prom queen of Smithville, Birdee quickly realizes that life is not what it once was. She runs into Justin Matisse who’s had a crush on her since high school. He tries to show her that there can be life after your first love. With her mother’s health fading, Birdee must work to open her heart and find the thing she lost, the thing everybody is looking for, that everyone needs…hope.

 Though the acting was superb in this film, the thing that really makes it is the music. Music can guide you into certain feelings. It’s not all necessarily instrumental, either. A lot of the music in the film was comprised of singers bringing the deep meanings of their country songs to life and emphasizing the feelings shown by the actors. When they’re traveling from Chicago to
Texas, the memory scene on the football field, when Birdee and Justin are dancing, to when they are walking at the carnival, all the music adds to the emotions. To me music belongs in the movies, and they are much better and more real because of it.

 Though this story at times gets a bit lengthy and can be slow going, I feel that it’s something everyone should watch at least once, if not own it. Not for it’s acting, directing, editing, or even for the music that I had mentioned earlier, though that is a good soundtrack, but for the message. Especially in today’s world, everyone needs the message of hope. 


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