The summer drought is officially over. For the first time in many months, critics started talking about movies as though they might actually be fun, challenging, and worthwhile.

Hot from the Oven

This month, director Scott Hicks (Shine, Snow Falling on Cedars) brings us a big-screen adaptation of one of Stephen King's kinder, gentler tales—Hearts in Atlantis. It's a nostalgic, inspiring story about youth and courage, with just a touch of the suspense and nightmare expected from America's scariest storyteller. There's more Stand By Me than The Stand here.

Newcomer Anton Yelchin plays the young, inquisitive Bobby Garfield. Bobby's father died young, and his half-present mother Elisabeth (Hope Davis) sooths her wounds with self-absorption and profligacy. When a new tenant moves in upstairs, an aging gentleman named Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins), Bobby finds the mentor and father figure he needs. But this rewarding new friendship is at risk. Elisabeth suspects Ted's motives, fearing he might be a sexual predator. Ted is harmless, but hunted by some sinister characters called "the low men."

Mary Draughton at the family-friendly site Preview calls Hearts in Atlantis "intriguing and suspenseful as well as touching and uplifting … one of this year's best movies for mature viewers." Right away she addresses one aspect of the story that will concern many Christians—Ted's limited psychic powers: "Ted's supernatural powers attract suspicion and danger, making them more of a curse than a gift." Scripture rightfully warns against consulting psychic powers for wisdom. But in this sort of story, Ted's future-seeing is more of a fairy-tale element, a metaphor for power and responsibility. The "gift" afflicts him the way visions afflicted the ...

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