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Where The Heart Is(2000)

Where the Heart Is is a 2000 American romantic drama film directed by Matt Williams and starring Natalie Portman, Stockard Channing, Ashley Judd, and Joan Cusack with supporting roles done by James Frain, Dylan Bruno, Keith David, and Sally Field. The screenplay, written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, is based on the best-selling 1995 novel of the same name by Billie Letts. The film follows five years in the life of Novalee Nation, a pregnant 17-year-old who is abandoned by her boyfriend at a Walmart in a small Oklahoma town. She secretly moves into the store, where she eventually gives birth to her baby, which attracts media attention. With the help of friends, she makes a new life for herself in the town.

Where the Heart Is(2000)

A tornado blows through Sequoyah, and Sister Husband is killed. In her memory, Novalee takes a picture of Americus and the still-standing buckeye tree amidst the storm damage. Sister leaves her everything, around $41,000, but Novalee feels Sister's companion Mr. Sprock deserves the estate. He insists he only wants the kitchen table, as it was where he and Sister often made love.

After driving Willy Jack home to Tennessee upon his hospital release, Novalee drives to Maine to find Forney at Bowdoin. She confesses she really does love him, and they return to Oklahoma and marry in the Walmart, where Lexie is seen carrying her newest baby.

Remember that game in school where the teacher would write the first sentence of a story and then pass it around the class? Everybody would write a sentence, but the paper was folded so you could only read the last sentence before yours. "Where the Heart Is" has a screenplay like that, zigging and zagging and wildly careening from one melodramatic development to the next. What halfway holds it together are the performances, which are convincing and deserve a story with a touch more sanity.

WHERE THE HEART IS stars Natalie Portman as Novalee Nation, a pregnant 17-year-old abandoned at a Wal-Mart by her boyfriend. She moves into the Wal-Mart, keeping careful track of everything she takes, and becomes something of a sensation when she ends up having the baby in the Wal-Mart. Sister Husband (Stockard Channing), a dotty but affectionate recovering alcoholic, takes her in. Novalee makes two other friends -- Lexie (Ashley Judd), a kind-hearted nurse who is always looking for Mr. Right but finding herself pregnant instead, and Forney (James Frain) a brilliant librarian with a sad secret. Novalee and her friends cope with tragedy and learn to "let go of what's gone and hold on like hell to what they've got." They acknowledge the sadness and unfairness and meanness in life, but they "hold on to the goodness and pass it on." Novalee and Lexie must also learn that they deserve to be loved and cared for.

This movie is worth seeing just to watch five of the finest actresses in movies. Natalie Portman is radiant as Novalee, and it is a pleasure to see her bloom before our eyes. Ashley Judd is delicious as Lexie, explaining that she named her children after snack foods and getting excited about each new husband prospect. And then she is heart-wrenching when she must deal with the unthinkable. Joan Cusack is sensational as a music promoter who has seen it all and has no illusions. Sally Fields contributes a magnificent cameo as Novalee's wayward mother. Just the way she smokes a cigarette tells us everything about her life since she left home. And Stockard Channing makes us see how Sister Husband's life may have left her a little addled on minor details, but utterly clear about the important things.

Families can talk about one character's view that people lie because they are "scared or crazy or just mean," about another character's statement that "home is where they catch you when you fall" and about what makes it possible for some people to survive deprivation and tragedy. They should also talk about what made it difficult for Lexie and Novalee to accept love from good men. And they should talk about the extraordinary kindness the characters show each other, particularly the thoughtful way that Sister Husband invites Novalee and her baby to live with her, making it sound as though Novalee is doing her the favor.

The heart is an amazing organ. It pumps oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout your body to sustain life. This fist-sized powerhouse beats (expands and contracts) 100,000 times per day, pumping five or six quarts of blood each minute, or about 2,000 gallons per day.

Looking at the outside of the heart, you can see that the heart is made of muscle. The strong muscular walls contract (squeeze), pumping blood to the rest of the body. On the surface of the heart, there are coronary arteries, which supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle itself. The major blood vessels that enter the heart are the superior vena cava, the inferior vena cava, and the pulmonary veins. The pulmonary artery exits the heart and carries oxygen-poor blood to the lungs. The aorta exits and carries oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.

On the inside, the heart is a four-chambered, hollow organ. It is divided into the left and right side by a muscular wall called the septum. The right and left sides of the heart are further divided into two top chambers called the atria, which receive blood from the veins, and two bottom chambers called ventricles, which pump blood into the arteries.

The atria and ventricles work together, contracting and relaxing to pump blood out of the heart. As blood leaves each chamber of the heart, it passes through a valve. There are four heart valves within the heart:

Like all organs, your heart is made of tissue that requires a supply of oxygen and nutrients. Although its chambers are full of blood, the heart receives no nourishment from this blood. The heart receives its own supply of blood from a network of arteries, called the coronary arteries.

Coronary artery disease occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries and prevents the heart from getting the enriched blood it needs. If this happens, a network of tiny blood vessels in the heart that aren't usually open called collateral vessels may enlarge and become active. This allows blood to flow around the blocked artery to the heart muscle, protecting the heart tissue from injury.

As a heart surgeon, I can tell you that the outward appearance of a man's heart is identical to that of a woman's heart, but there are some very subtle differences. An average man's heart weighs 10 ounces, and a woman's heart weighs only 8 ounces. Women's hearts make up for their smaller size by beating a little faster. The average heart rate of a man is 70 beats/minute, and that of a woman is 78 beats/minute.

Although most of us place our right hand on our left chest when we pledge allegiance to the flag, we really should be placing it over the center of our chest, because that's where our hearts sit. Your heart is in middle of your chest, in between your right and left lung. It is, however, tilted slightly to the left.

Emotions and stress can cause your body to release certain hormones that, under certain circumstances, can paralyze large portions of your heart. This is called "takotsubo's cardiomyopathy" or "broken heart syndrome," and primarily affects post-menopausal women. The stress that triggers this phenomenon can be the death of a loved one, the loss of money, a surprise party or even the fear of performing in public. Fortunately this syndrome is only temporary, and after supportive measures, heart function usually returns to normal.

The overall prevalence of heart failure is 3-20 per 1000 population, although this exceeds 100 per 1000 in those aged 65 years and over. The annual incidence of heart failure is 1-5 per 1000, and the relative incidence doubles for each decade of life after the age of 45 years. The overall incidence is likely to increase in the future, because of both an ageing population and therapeutic advances in the management of acute myocardial infarction leading to improved survival in patients with impaired cardiac function.

The Task Force on Heart Failure of the European Society of Cardiology has recently published guidelines on the diagnosis of heart failure, which require the presence of symptoms and objective evidence of cardiac dysfunction. Reversibility of symptoms on appropriate treatment is also desirable. Echocardiography is recommended as the most practicable way of assessing cardiac function, and this investigation has been used in more recent studies.

In the Framingham heart study a cohort of 5209 subjects has been assessed biennially since 1948, with a further cohort (their offspring) added in 1971. This uniquely large dataset has been used to determine the incidence and prevalence of heart failure, defined with consistent clinical and radiographic criteria.

The recent Hillingdon study examined the incidence of heart failure, defined on the basis of clinical and radiographic findings, with echocardiography, in a population in west London. The overall annual incidence was 0.08%, rising from 0.02% at age 45-55 years to 1.2% at age 86 years or over. About 80% of these cases were first diagnosed after acute hospital admission, with only 20% being identified in general practice and referred to a dedicated clinic.

The pictures of William Withering and of the foxglove are reproduced with permission from the Fine Art Photographic Library. The box of definitions of heart failure is adapted from Poole-Wilson PA et al, eds (Heart failure. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1997:270). The table showing the prevalence of left ventricular dysfunction in north Glasgow is reproduced with permission from McDonagh TA et al (see key references box). The table showing costs of heart failure is adapted from McMurray J et al (Br J Med Econ 1993;6:99-110).

The heart is the hardest working muscle in the human body. Located almost in the center of the chest, a healthy adult heart is the size of a clenched adult fist. By age 70, the human heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times. The heart is always working. It pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood daily. 041b061a72

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