Places in the Heart is a loving, reflective homage to his hometown by writer-director Robert Benton. Flawlessly crafted, Benton creates a full tapestry of life in Waxahachie, Texas circa 1935, but filmgoers may find his understated naturalistic approach lacking in dramatic punch.
Obviously drawing on his personal experiences and people he knew growing up, Benton remembers the rituals of everyday life: love, in all of its forms, birth and death.
Sally Field is solid in the lead role as a widowed mother, but she is not the strong unifying character that can tie the strands of Benton’s script together.
Nestor Almendros’ photography is not pretty, but high on feeling and atmosphere. It radiates a lived-in autumnal light.
1984: Best Actress (Sally Field), Original Screenplay.
Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Actor (John Malkovich), Supp. Actress (Lindsay Crouse), Costume Design