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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Queen of Corn

Hope Floats (1998) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Talk show host Toni Post (Kathy Najimy)—“Welcome to the Toni Post Show”—makes it her business (“We're gonna get down”) to have people out them­selves (“We're gonna get dirty”) to their intimates on national TV. For example, a woman confesses to her fellow that she works nights as an exotic dancer. Here beautiful Birdee Pruitt (Sandra Bullock)'s best friend Connie Phillips (Rosanna Arquette) and Birdee's husband Bill (Michael Paré) confess (“Are you having an affair with your wife's best friend?”) they've been doing their “dance” for over a year, and they even “danced” once on Birdee's living room floor. Birdee packs up with her “likeable” little daughter Bernice (Mae Whitman), and they drive to her home­town of Smith­ville, Texas to stay with her mother Ramona Calvert (Gena Rowlands.)

Her sister isn't there because she's off in California shooting a pilot picture. Most pilots fail to get taken up for series production. It seems that Birdee's marriage pilot flopped and is not going to survive any more seasons of life, so Birdee will have to remake her life as did all her former school­mates in one fashion or another after graduation, and her Alzheimer-suffering dad going to Tranquility House.


Birdee explains to her daughter, “People fall in love. They fall right back out.” Bill tells Birdee, “People grow. They change. They have to!” He justifies him­self saying, “The only thing I'm guilty of is falling in love. I didn't want it to happen. I didn't seek it out.” Great!

Webster defines “fall 3 b. to enter as if unawares: stumble, stray <fell into error>”. In this movie Bernice is helped to under­stand the adult issue when she falls to fighting with Big (“the meanest and dumbest girl in school”) Dolores (Rachel Lena Snow). After Bernice accidentally creamed the brute with an errant volley­ball, their fight was inevitable, and to the cheers of young onlookers, how­ever accidental the cause.

Birdee's father was devout; witness the crucifix in his room. So was her mother who was in tight with the minister who'd “known Mrs. Calvert all my life.” Birdee seems a chip off the old block, doing every­thing she could to avoid a divorce, “I would have stayed with you forever. I would have turned myself inside out for you.” Jesus said, (Matt. 19:9) “Who­soever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

Bill was known as, “He always was a ladies man.” Birdee was the prom queen in school, and Bill the quarter­back. As a couple they were the “pride of Smith­ville.” He treated Birdee as “a joke” and he doesn't make a priority of his daughter, either (“Try to under­stand, baby. Connie and I, we need this time to our­selves, to try and make a go of it.”) He was altogether flip­pant about marriage; to him it was but a license to fornicate, and as such the fornication exception would apply to a divorce from him.

Twice in the movie is quoted the tail end of this verse: (Psalm 23:5) “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” The table prepared in the presence of Bernice's enemies would include her cousin Travis (Cameron Finley) and another little girl who befriended her after seeing her get beat up. The prepared table was also Birdee's family and friends who rallied to her side after seeing her humiliation on TV (“That's why they invented families, so hope­less wouldn't get the last word.”) And especially prepared was a dream­boat of a guy, Justin Matisse (Harry Connick Jr.): so strong, sensitive & available.

“Thou anointest my head with oil” was the makeover (“Why don't you go down and get dressed? You gotta feel depressed looking like that”) Birdee received, arriving in town disheveled (“You look terrible! You been drinking?”) and getting her act together (“You look ... beautiful. Same old Birdee.”)

“My cup runneth over”, quoted twice, would be the happy endings.

Production Values

The film, “Hope Floats” (1998) was directed by Forest Whitaker. Its screen­play was written by Steven Rogers. It stars Sandra Bullock, Harry Connick Jr., and Gena Rowlands. The main actors are good, even interesting most of them, except Connick Jr. could do for more seasoned. His presence is rather shallow and there isn't much chemistry with Bullock. Mae Whitman as the little girl Bernice puts in a remarkable performance having good chemistry with Bullock.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for thematic elements. The plot is not very complex. Barely enough happens to keep one awake. Maybe it would be more interesting to a Texan. Having grown up country, I could at least relate to the small town atmosphere. That said, the cast, sound­track, direction and locations are all spot on. The camera only works well-lighted scenes, minimally darkened at morose times. The pace is slow.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This is a chick flick that doesn't even try to appeal to men or boys. “Hope Floats” is a very whole­some movie with steady performances from all.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: No action, no adventure. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good Date Movie. Suspense: Predictable. Overall product rating: three and a half stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield, Mass.: MERRIAM-WEBSTER. 1984. Print.