Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Where the Heart Is

In the movie Where the Heart Is, product advertisement is a huge element to the audience. Walmart is widely known, and many scenes from this film take place either in Walmart or sponsor Walmart products. Natalie Portman's character, Novalee, is young and pregnant traveling with her self-absorbed boyfriend. Money does not grow on trees for either of them and when she asks to stop to buy a pair of comfortable sandals, he gives her a few bucks and "waits in the car." Waiting in line to pay, she intuitively panics and rushes out to Walmart's parking lot to find her boyfriend left.  Abandoned in an Oklahoma Walmart store, Novalee lives day by day unknown where to turn for help. When the store begins to close, she hides in the bathroom from employes locking up, then borrows Walmart's products to sleep at night. Many scenes show her in different sundresses she had borrowed and at one point we see her "I owe you" little book she keeps to make sure she can repay Walmart for the things she takes to survive. This sponsorship appeals to viewers because of the low prices the movie points out and its variety of products that any person can use. When Novalee wakes up in the hospital one morning, she is confused how she got there, how she can afford to pay them and keep her baby. This scene emotionally draws the audience to Walmart when her nurse explains how she gave birth in the store and becomes popular all over the news as the "Walmart mommy." The President of Walmart gives Novalee five hundred dollars and offered any Walmart job position in the country. I think this store and its products are desired to be clearly advertised as an affordable and successful place for any person. It also makes the argument that they care about their customers. Example of this is shown through Walmart giving back to Novalee, instead of asking back for compensation. 
This film logically draws viewers in with high profile actresses like Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd, Joan Cusack, and Sally Field, and of course the wide sponsorship of Walmart and its products. This movie sells its products through a smart marketing appeal of low prices, and things we need and use for every day. In my opinion both the film and Walmart benefited from each other in the making of this movie. 

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