Smithville Spotlight: ‘Hope Floats’ Setting is a Real Texas Town

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Just over two decades ago, the movie “Hope Floats,” starring Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr., saw film crews and a spotlight set on Smithville, Texas. Now, just beyond its 20th anniversary, fans of the stars and the film continue to watch it, share it with friends and family, and share how Smithville truly is a Texas locale that one can be both lost and found in.

Situated in Bastrop County, just southeast of Austin, the Texas town of Smithville has a population just shy of 4,000, according to its 2010 census notes. The James H. Long Railroad Museum can be found there, together with an oil on canvas mural at the post office, entitled, “The Law, Texas Rangers,” which was painted by Minette Teichmueller in 1939. An added claim to fame is also being the setting for not one, but two Hollywood films. The first was “Hope Floats,” and the second was “The Tree of Life,” which starred Brad Pitt and was released in 2011. But for this article’s sake, we’re focused on the former.

Video: YouTube/Movieclips

In the film, Bullock plays Birdee Pruitt, a southern woman who gets blindsided on a national television talk show when her best friend reveals she’s been having an affair with her husband. From there, the movie follows Pruitt on her journey back home to Smithville, Texas, with her daughter. She moves back in with her mama (played by Gena Rowlands) and tries to piece a life back together from its remains. Enter Harry Connick Jr. as the new love interest. Justin Matisse (his character) is the hometown hero of sorts in the film, and a former high school classmate of Pruitt’s. Shared on the Movieclips YouTube channel, the video above is just a small taste of the blossoming relationship between the two. Fans of the film would be happy to know that Smithville is home to many a real scene captured in the film as well. The home that Birdee Pruitt moves herself and her daughter back to is actually the historic McCollum-Chapman-Trousdale House which was constructed there in 1908. And, in case you were wondering, the scene from the clip above wasn’t filmed in Smithville, however, it is an actual Texas dance hall called Watterson Hall, located in Red Rock. And now you know!