Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that Places in the Heart is set in Texas during The Great Depression and shows a community dealing with poverty, lack of hope, and racial prejudice. Important messages about family, compassion, and respect for individual differences are effectively delivered. Several dramatic sequences are suspenseful and scary (a shooting, a beating, a turbulent storm); other scenes dealing with the bigotry of the time are highly charged and unsettling (the "N" word is used). Though outcomes are inspirational and prove that human goodness and ingenuity are rewarded, there are sad moments (spoiler alert: a father is killed; a young African-American is lynched; a violent storm threatens a town). A sub-plot concerns an adulterous relationship (some kissing, embracing, no nudity). Characters smoke; wine is used in a religious ceremony.
Several scenes reveal that a couple is having an extramarital affair. Their romance is prominent subsidiary story; they're seen after sex, embracing, caressing. . A woman is shown in a bath; no nudity.
A sheriff is shot and killed by a young African-American man; his body is seen in various scenes. The young man is shown hanging in revenge. Ku Klux Klansmen beat up a well-liked character. In a tense, suspenseful sequence a violent storm and tornado wreak havoc in a town; children and adults are threatened; a dead body is observed from a distance having been crushed during the disturbance.
Occasional swearing: "hell," "son of a bitch." Multiple racial slurs, including the "N" word used repeatedly.
Affirms that families comes in all sizes, shapes, and colors; people are bound together for a "common good" with love and mutual respect. Values promoted are: teamwork, forgiveness, compassion, and ethical behavior.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Wine is consumed in a religious service. Set in the 1930s, smoking is seen throughout; a young boy smokes, but is caught and punished.