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Where the Heart Is is a drama-comedy released in 2000. Based on a novel by Billie Letts. The story is about a pregnant young girl named Novalee Nation (Natalie Portman), who is abandoned in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart by her boyfriend. She eventually is taken in by a nearby family, gives birth to a daughter she names Americus, and falls in love with the town librarian.
Tropes found in this film include:
- Disappeared Dad: Americus' father abandons her mother in the parking lot at Walmart before she is born. While he continues to appear in the movie as a subplot, he never meets his daughter.
- Dynamic Entry: Forney leaps through a plate glass window in the Wal-Mart when he sees Novalee in labor.
- Five is Unlucky: Or seven, in the book.
- Foot Focus: Novalee's shoes fall through a hole in her boyfriend's car. She spends the next several minutes barefoot, with a couple close-ups of her feet.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Played straight with Forney and Novalee. She lies and tells him that she doesn't love him so he'll go and live the life she thinks he wants back east. She does come to her senses later and goes back and tells him the truth.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Both played straight and averted with Novalee, as she didn't exactly plan to get pregnant at 17 to a guy who would abandon her in the middle of nowhere, but a later fling does not result in a pregnancy for her. Played straight with Lexie, as has 4 kids by 3 different deadbeat daddies at the start of the movie. And it gets worse as the movie goes on.
Well, I started when I was 15 and I just couldn't stop. I wanted to find the first one a daddy, but all I got out of that was another baby. So, I wanted to find 'em both a daddy, and so on, and so on. I think I'm goin' about this the wrong way.
- Parental Abandonment: Novalee's father is never seen, and her mother only shows up to steal money from her and disappear again.
- Soft Glass: See Dynamic Entry above.
- Title Drop