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Hope Floats
Directed by Forest Whitaker
Produced by Lynda Obst,
Sandra Bullock,
Elizabeth Joan Hooper,
Mary McLaglen
Written by Steven Rogers
Starring Sandra Bullock,
Harry Connick, Jr.,
Gena Rowlands,
Mae Whitman
Music by Dave Grusin
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) May 29, 1998
Running time 114 min
Language English

Hope Floats is an 1998 American romantic drama film directed by Forest Whitaker, and starring Sandra Bullock, Harry Connick, Jr. and Gena Rowlands.



Birdee Pruitt (Sandra Bullock) is a Chicago housewife who is invited onto a talk show under the pretense of a free makeover. The makeover she is given is hardly what she has in she is ambushed with the revelation that her husband Bill has been having an affair behind her back with his mistress Connie, who also happens to be her best friend. Humiliated on national television, Birdee and her daughter Bernice (Mae Whitman) move back to Birdee's hometown of Smithville, Texas with Birdee's eccentric mother Ramona (Gena Rowlands) to try and make a fresh start. As Birdee and Bernice leave Chicago, Birdee gives Bernice a letter from her father, telling Bernice how much he misses her.

Birdee struggles to make a new life for herself as a working single mother and must deal with the growing attraction between herself and a former high school classmate, Justin Matisse (Harry Connick, Jr.). She also must deal with rebuilding her relationship with her estranged mother, her ailing father (who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease), and her daughter, who wants desperately to be with her father and blames her mother for the breakup, even going so far as to try and sabotage the romantic overtures Justin makes towards Birdee. Bernice's efforts also drive a wedge between her and her mother, leaving Birdee, in her state of depression, becoming more open to the idea of Bernice going to her father.

Adding to Birdee's heartache is her former status as the school queen bee and a three-time beauty pageant winner, alienating many of her former classmates who have never left Smithville or have left and returned. They also haven't forgotten Birdee's high school snobbery and rub her nose in her televised embarrassment from her husband and former friend.


Ramona tries to mend the gap between her daughter and granddaughter by telling a story about the importance of family if hope is to come alive through a childhood story of her own. She asks Bernice what she's wishing for her birthday. Though Bernice doesn't say it, she secretly wishes for her father to return.

Later that night, Ramona is drinking tea as she's preparing for bed. she has a heart attack She falls on her bed and dies, dropping her tea. An alarmed Bernice comes in. Birdee rushes in to try and revive her mother, but to no avail.

At the funeral, Bill arrives at the church, joining the large crowd of mourners for Ramona. Bernice believes that her father's presence is a sign that her wish has come true...that her father wants them both to come home and life will be the same as it was in Chicago. She murmurs a thank you to her deceased grandmother as she leaves the church.

Bernice, who has long been the apple of her father's eye, is dealt a hard blow of reality, when it becomes clear to her that her parents' split is permanent when Bill asks Birdee for a divorce. Wanting to be with her father, Bernice is devastated when he tells her that though he loves her, he has no room for her in his new life with Connie. Bernice tries to beg her father to bring her along, knowing how much he wanted her in the letter he wrote to her at the start of the film. Crushed at the thought that her father put another woman before her, Bernice breaks down sobbing, screaming for him to come back (in Mae Whitman's award-winning performance). Bill turns his back on her and drives off, leaving her to be comforted by her mother, the only person she has left to turn to. Birdee finally reveals to Bernice that she was actually the one who wrote the letter, pretending it was from Bill. Bernice forgives her mom, and the two soon start bonding, as Bernice learns how much Birdee really loves her.

Bernice ultimately accepts Bill's departure from her life as a full-time parent, and begins to accept Justin as her mother's new love interest and a father figure. Both mother and daughter share a tender yet humorous moment when Bernice asks Birdee if she's going to marry Justin. When Birdee asks her if she means she doesn't like Justin, Bernice says her only real concern is being known as "Bernice Matisse."



Hope Floats was filmed in Smithville, Texas. [1] The home in the movie is at 201 E. Eighth. The Elementary School in the movie is a 1924 High School building. [2]

The logo on the T-shirt that Justin wears, in the scene where Justin and Birdee walks down the street, talking about old times, is the logo for Texas Rebel Radio - KFAN-FM - 107.9 [3]


Hope Floats:
Music From The Motion Picture
Soundtrack by various artists
Released April 7, 1998
Genre Soundtrack
Label Capitol Records
Professional reviews

Hope Floats: Music From The Motion Picture

  1. "To Make You Feel My Love" (03:53) - Garth Brooks
  2. "In Need" (05:29) - Sheryl Crow
  3. "Honest I Do" (03:55) - Rolling Stones
  4. "Chances Are" (04:17) - Bob Seger/Martina McBride
  5. "All I Get" (04:08) - The Mavericks
  6. "Paper Wings" (03:57) - Gillian Welch
  7. "Stop In The Name Of Love" (04:31) - Jonell Mosser
  8. "Wither, I'm A Flower" (04:53) - Whiskeytown
  9. "What Makes You Stay" (04:35) - Deana Carter
  10. "To Get Me To You" (03:50) - Lila McCann
  11. "Smile" (03:38) - Lyle Lovett
  12. "When You Love Someone" (03:39) - Bryan Adams
  13. "To Make You Feel My Love" (02:57) - Trisha Yearwood




A remastered and expanded soundtrack was released on April 24, 2007 (on CD and digitally). It was expanded with six tracks. [5] Garth Brooks' version of "To Make You Feel My Love", is not included in the reissue.

1. "Main Title: Going Home" - Dave Grusin
2. - 13. - same as the original release
14. "Daybreak" - Barry Manilow
15. "I Can't Get Next to You" - The Temptations
16. "Cool Night" - Paul Davis
17. "Who Cares Anyway" - Laura Harding
18. "Justin & Birdie" - Dave Grusin


Preceded by
The Limited Series
by Garth Brooks
Top Country Albums number-one album
June 20 - August 22, 1998
Succeeded by
Come On Over
by Shania Twain


Hope Floats:
Original Score Soundtrack
Soundtrack by Dave Grusin
Released 1998
Genre Score
Label RCA Victor
Professional reviews

Hope Floats: Original Score Soundtrack [6]

  1. "Main Title: Going Home" (03:22)
  2. "Justin & Birdie" (03:27)
  3. "Cheerleader Flashback" (02:26)
  4. "Time To Get Up" (02:48)
  5. "Snappy Snaps" (01:22)
  6. "Mothers & Daughters" (02:19)
  7. "Growning Up" (02:32)
  8. "Employment Opportunities" (01:28)
  9. "Ramona's Last Story" (03:19)
  10. "Reality Check" (03:11)
  11. "Getting Up Again" (03:56)

Awards and nominations

  • 1999 ALMA Awards
    • Nomination: Outstanding Performance of a Song for a Feature Film - The Mavericks for the song "All I Get".
  • 1999 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
    • Nomination: Favorite Actor - Drama/Romance - Harry Connick Jr.
    • Nomination: Favorite Supporting Actress - Drama/Romance - Gena Rowlands
  • 1999 Lone Star Film & Television Awards
    • Winner: Best Actress - Sandra Bullock
    • Winner: Best Supporting Actress - Gena Rowlands
  • 1999 Young Artist Awards
    • Winner: Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Actress Age Ten or Under - Mae Whitman
    • Nomination: Performance in a Feature Film - Young Actor Age Ten or Under - Cameron Finley
  • 1998 YoungStar Awards
    • Nomination: Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Drama Film - Cameron Finley
    • Nomination: Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Drama Film - Mae Whitman


External links



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