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Then She Found Me Review

Then She Found Me: A Sweet Treat for Mother's Day

The first thing actress-turned-director Helen Hunt's film has going for it is a capable and enchanting cast that includes Hunt, Colin Firth, Matthew Broderick, and Bette Middler. I have a hard time calling Then She Found Me a romantic comedy because, unlike recent additions to the genre, no one in this cast plays a scene for an easy laugh. Instead, each actor approaches his or her character as a human being — as complicated and flawed as any of us. The humor comes, as in life, with truth. Specifically, Midler's character could easily become a farcical caricature but instead is played with such restraint that the result is both touching and funny.

The movie follows April (Hunt), a middle-aged elementary school teacher who is adopted, yet when faced with trouble getting pregnant, refuses adoption as an option. Yes, Hunt is quite thin in this film, but it didn't shock me so much as it seemed like the physical state of a woman who is exhausted by her frustrating situation, which is compounded by marriage problems and a death in the family.

The joy of the movie comes from the way in which Hunt's character begins to open her heart to a new love — and to her biological mother. A touching story about motherhood? What perfect timing! To see the other reasons I enjoyed this little film,


I don't think I've ever seen adoption handled onscreen in quite this way before, specifically the way this story (based on the novel by Elinor Lipman) subtly explores the identity issues an adoptee may have later in life. April's struggle to come to terms with being an adopted child has started to seep into her daily life, and she tries to find clarity when it comes to her relationships. Matthew Broderick plays Ben, April's emotionally immature husband who decides he doesn't want to be married soon after they're wed. So, he moves in with his mom. Yeah, he's that guy. But despite his Peter Pan complex (and his less-than-crushworthy physique), April has a hard time moving on, even with the steadfast Frank (Firth playing a role that's familiar but no less adorable), who is ready and able to love her.

Just as April's love life couldn't be more complicated, her adopted mother dies and her charismatic, self-absorbed birth mother, Bernice Graves (Midler) decides she wants a relationship with her. Of course, Bernice doesn't bat an eye at the havoc she might wreak on her biological daughter's life by entering it. All of these forces combine to take April on an emotional journey that is interesting and often funny.

This film isn't perfect and some scenes feel just a touch overwrought, or the dialogue is a teeny bit stilted or "artsy" — a word that came to mind during exchanges like, "Is it you?" "It's me, is it you?" "It's me." But the performances are emotional and sometimes unsettling, the laughs are earned and best of all, the plot is anything but predictable. It all amounts to a terrific directorial debut by Hunt as well as a treat for those of us who like a good laugh and an honest tug at the old heartstrings. Take your mom if you can.

Photos courtesy of THINKFilm

Join The Conversation
bluebaby101 bluebaby101 8 years
Someone give Helen Hunt a Sandwich!!!! She is so skinny in this movie it is distracting. Besides that this movie is horrible, don't waste your time.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
this sounds like the kind of movie i'd like to see right NOW. it has been such a nice summery day and i went down to the beach for a few hours...and would love to spend the evening seeing this...but i'll be watching 3 Dr. Who episodes instead. :)
idawson idawson 9 years
will probably wait until cable/dvd. colin firth is gorgeous! can't wait to see him in mama mia.
pargie pargie 9 years
Roeper (from Ebert & Roeper)and the guest critic gave this movie two thumbs down, I was disappointed that it was getting such bad reviews. I'm glad review is a nicer one, I look forward to seeing it.
Entertainment Entertainment 9 years
alethe16 - Sounds like making the movie adaption of the novel took a really long time and Hunt got stuck on how to do it. You can read her rationalization for adding in the new plot points and characters in this interesting interview with her here. Not having read the book myself I can't say if it's a frustrating experience for those who love the original story, however I still maintain it's well done as a screenplay.
alethe16 alethe16 9 years
I really wanted to see this movie when I heard it was coming out, because I read the book and really, really enjoyed it. However, it sounds like the movie is taking some real liberties and straying quite far from the book in some parts. In the book, April wasn't married or pregnant...are they just trying to make things more difficult for her to create movie drama?
PollyPrissyPants PollyPrissyPants 9 years
I completely agree with your review, Buzz! I saw this at the Toronto Film Fest back in September and loved it. I went with my mom and we both thought it was an excellent debut from the director's chair for Helen Hunt. The actors were great and you make an excellent point that the humour comes from the flawed characters - and not the usual rom-com played out scenarios. After the film, there was an hour Q&A with Helen increadibly smart and articulate woman. I liked her before I saw this but my admiration grew a lot after listening to her speak!
Linda-McP Linda-McP 9 years
Looking forward to seeing this one. Thanks, Buzz.
yiddidea yiddidea 9 years
Sounds great to me! I love Colin Firth, Bette Midler and Matthew Broderick and even Helen Hunt (most of the time). :)
marcella marcella 9 years
I hate Helen Hunt. Her affectations are just too much!!
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