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Anywhere but Here is a 1999 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film, based on the novel of the same name by Mona Simpson. The screenplay was written by Alvin Sargent, and the film was directed by Wayne Wang. It was produced by Laurence Mark, Petra Alexandria, and Ginny Nugent. It stars Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman, and Shawn Hatosy.

Anywhere but Here
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Wayne Wang
Produced by Laurence Mark
Screenplay by Alvin Sargent
Based on Anywhere but Here
by Mona Simpson
Narrated by Natalie Portman
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Roger Deakins
Edited by Nicholas C. Smith
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • November 12, 1999 (1999-11-12)
Running time
114 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $23 million
Box office $23.6 million

Filming began in late June 1998. The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 17, 1999, before being released in the United States on November 12.



Adele August (Susan Sarandon) is an eccentric woman who, with her reluctant daughter, Ann (Natalie Portman), leaves a small Wisconsin town and moves to Beverly Hills to realize her dreams. However, it becomes apparent that Adele is uncertain of what those dreams are - expressing ideas such as marrying a rich man - and often makes irresponsible and impulsive decisions, such as purchasing a used Mercedes she cannot afford in order to drive to Beverly Hills. While upset with Adele's decisions, the more practical Ann finds she cannot leave her mother and resents her for leaving Ann's stepfather for a better life. Furthermore, Ann still loves her father, who left her family when Ann was still young.

When living in Beverly Hills, Adele improvises from day to day, often unable to pay the bills. She winds up dating a successful dentist, but learns that he doesn't love her and has dumped her for a younger woman. Things get complicated when Adele has a fight with Jimmy and Ann starts dating her crush, Peter. Forcing her daughter to enroll in Beverly Hills High School, where a lot of rich kids and movie star kids go to, Adele hopes that Ann will become an actress and attend UCLA, despite Ann's interest in going away to Brown University. Although Adele fails in many respects, she eventually accepts her daughter's plans and decides to help her.



The film received positive reviews from critics. It currently holds a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus reads: "The clever reversal of roles between Portman and Sarandons' characters (Portman is constantly worried and looking out for her mother, not vice versa) makes the movie interesting and worth watching. Transcends the tired cliche well."[2]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three stars and noted "The movie's interest is not in the plot, which is episodic and 'colorful,' but in the performances. Sarandon bravely makes Adele into a person who is borderline insufferable. Sarandon's role is trickier and more difficult, but Portman's will get the attention. In 'Anywhere But Here,' she gets yanked along by her out of control mother, and her best scenes are when she fights back, not emotionally, but with incisive observations."[3]

Filming locationsEdit


Anywhere But Here: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released November 2, 1999
Genre Pop
Length 59:25
Label Atlantic/Wea.
Producer Danny Elfman, Steve Power, Lisa Loeb, Michael Beinhorn, Malcolm Burn, Marius de Vries, Joe Hardy, Jay Joyce, k.d. lang, Pierre Marchand, Rick Nowels, Carmen Rizzo, Glenn Rosenstein, Don Was, Wilbur C. Rimes, Ellen Segal, Pocket Size, Billy Harvey
Singles from Anywhere But Here: Music from the Motion Picture
  1. "Leaving's Not Leaving"
    Released: September 28, 1999[4]
Professional ratings
Review scores

A soundtrack to the film was released on November 2, 1999,[6] ten days before the theatrical release. The soundtrack was distributed by Atlantic Records and Wea.

The soundtrack features original music by Lisa Loeb, Danny Elfman and k.d. lang. It also featured tracks by artists such as LeAnn Rimes, Sarah McLachlan, and Pocket Size, as well as other various artists. Rimes' song, "Leaving's Not Leaving", was released as a B-side track with her single, "Big Deal", on September 28, 1999.[4]

No.TitleWriter(s)Recording artist(s)Length
1."Anywhere But Here" k.d. lang3:45
2."Walking" Pocket Size4:14
3."Scream and Shout" 21st Century Girls3:25
4."Leaving's Not Leaving" (feat. string arrangements by David Campbell)Diane WarrenLeAnn Rimes4:53
5."I Wish" Lisa Loeb2:27
6."Free" Marie Wilson3:56
7."Amity" Carly Simon and Sally Taylor3:17
8."Ice Cream" Sarah McLachlan2:43
9."Furniture" Kacy Crowley3:29
10."Twisted Road" Patty Griffin2:48
11."Strange Wind" Poe3:59
12."Everything Around Me Is Changing" Sinéad Lohan4:42
13."Come Here" Lili Haydn, Rick Boston4:22
14."Chotee" Bif Naked3:50
15."Anywhere But Here Score Suite" Danny Elfman7:35
Total length:59:25

Awards and nominationsEdit

Golden Globe Awards

  • Nominated - Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture - Natalie Portman

Young Artist Awards

  • Nominated - Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress - Natalie Portman

Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Awards

  • Nominated - Best Contemporary Hair Styling (Feature) - Paul LeBlanc

Box officeEdit

The film opened at #5 at the North American box office and made $5.6 million USD in its opening weekend.


  1. ^ "Anywhere but Here". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  2. ^ "Anywhere But Here (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. April 18, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (November 12, 1999). "'Anywhere But Here'". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Big Deal / Leaving's Not Leaving: Leann Rimes: Music". Retrieved 2011-10-25.
  5. ^ "Anywhere But Here - Original Soundtrack". Retrieved 2012-05-02.
  6. ^ "Anywhere But Here: Music from the Motion Picture: Danny Elfman: Music". Retrieved 2011-10-25.

External linksEdit