Friday, May 23, 2008

"Then She Found Me"

Actress/Director Helen Hunt

Award-winning actress Helen Hunt makes her feature directing debut with, "Then She Found Me," adapted from the best-selling Elinor Lipman novel about an adopted woman who wants to have her own child.

At first, I had some problems getting into it. The opening sequences felt rushed and contrived. Before April has a chance to deal with one tragedy, another one takes it's place. Writer/Director Helen Hunt seems to rush through some life altering events without allowing her character to learn the inherit lessons.

April has an urgent need to have her own baby to experience that special bond that she never felt as an adopted child. That's when her shallow, self-centered husband (Matthew Broderick) chooses to leave her.

Before she has time to digest that her husband is gone, she meets a man who just might be her soul mate - the father of one of her students. The film seems to be saying that love doesn't come in a neat little package (a bundle of joy) or even at a good time. Love is messy - full of human weakness and flaws. In this case, the package comes with a lot of extra baggage. Colin Firth is vulnerable and sexy as the recently dumped father of two who bumbles his way through the initial stages of this potentially important relationship. Helen Hunt gives an honest, nuanced performance as the confused and conflicted April. Kudos to Ms. Hunt for creating the most romantic relationship I've seen in a very long time.

To further complicate matters, April's birth mother (Bette Midler) turns up to show how really flawed love can be. This is your typical sitcom fare with Midler playing it predictively over the top. However, despite the best jokes being thrown away in the trailer, the Divine Miss M got some good laughs. And there are some touching moments of genuine bonding between the two women.

I also appreciate how the film touches on the spiritual side of being Jewish - not just having the characters perform rituals for the sake of tradition.

Sometimes good art, like life and love, can be flawed. I found this to be the case with THEN SHE FOUND ME. I'm looking forward to seeing it again. If you've been longing for a truly romantic comedy, go see THEN SHE FOUND ME as soon as possible and bring your friends. Lets send a message to Ms. Hunt to keep up the good work!

Movie Blessings!
Jana Segal

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