Movie Review: Then She Found Me (2008)

So this blog was supposed to be about Mama Mia.  Angelika had come through with a free screening pass to Mama Mia, and I invited my old college roommate, who lives in Bedford, to make the trek to Dallas on a Thursday night to see it with me. 

We were going to make a night of it: dinner and a beer at Trinity Hall and then laughing and singing our way through the movie version of the HIGHLY acclaimed musical.

That’s when we got in line and found out that they had filled the theater in record time.  Oh well, all was not lost.  If we hadn’t spent a few extra minutes chatting at Trinity, we might have gotten in, and then we would have missed out on Then She Found Me.

I’d seen Colin Firth’s interview on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart several weeks ago, so I knew that Helen Hunt and Colin Firth were in the film, and that he played a single father who had a crush on Hunt’s character.  True to form, that’s all I knew about the film before we walked into the theater just as the trailers started.  And once again, not knowing anything else about the film made it a wonderfully surprising experience.

Hunt’s character is 39 year-old kindergarten teacher, April Epner.  April was adopted by a Jewish family, and she desperately wants a child of her own before her biological clock stops.  She’s been married to fellow kindergarten teacher Ben Green, played by Matthew Broderick, for 10 months, and they’ve been trying to conceive for at least that amount of time, with no luck.

Ben decides that he made a mistake, and he tells April that this isn’t the life he wants, but not before they have one last go at baby making on the kitchen floor.  April doesn’t sleep that night; presumably because her mind is full of questions like, “What am I going to do when I have to face my estranged husband across the way in his classroom tomorrow?”

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Never fear, April!  Said estranged husband will simply run away from the problem by resigning his post and leaving you to take care of two classes worth of five year-olds.  Enter Colin Firth’s character, Frank.  He’s the father of one of Ben’s students, Jimmy Ray. 

Frank hears April tell someone to stop calling her Mrs. Epner-Green and tries to offer a bit of consolation, to which, in her sleep-deprived state, April takes slight offense and believes that Frank is trying to hit on her…maybe so, maybe no…

As with most independent films that I’ve loved, character development is paramount, but this particular story has plenty of twists and turns to keep you engaged.  For instance, Bette Midler plays April’s pushy, celebrity biological mother who barges into her life. 

April is torn between believing that this woman is her real mother and being angry that she abandoned her as a baby, which is completely understandable given April’s burning desire to be a mother.

April’s faith in everything – God, people, her own judgment – is strongly tested, but in the end, family – traditional and not so traditional – is there to offer love and support and help carry April through possibly the most tragic and upsetting period of her life. 

And on the other side of this period – as so often happens – April discovers true contentment, unconditional love and that life’s disappointments can often turn into its most rewarding and fulfilling adventures.

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