Then She Found Me

 

Then She Found Me

 

Then She Found Me

Customer Reviews


Released earlier this year, Baby Mama covers the same emotional territory but in much broader slapstick terms, while this 2008 serio-comedy is driven far more by character than situation. In this case, the protagonist is 39-year-old April Epner, a New York kindergarten teacher who was raised in a close-knit Jewish family and desperately wants the biological connection of a birth child before her alarm clock goes off. She marries fellow teacher Ben, an inarticulate schlub with a terminal case of the Peter Pan Syndrome. After a brief time, he wants out of the marriage, and at almost the same time, April's adoptive mother Trudy dies. Not even a month goes by before April's biological mother suddenly shows up in the form of the brazenly overbearing but genuinely likeable Bernice Graves, a cable talk-show hostess who is something of a local media celebrity. If life was not complicated enough, April also finds herself drawn to Frank, the single father of one of her pupils. Unlike Ben, he feels the same about April but is fighting his own bitterness about his own recent divorce.
Not only does Helen Hunt star as April, but she also co-wrote the screenplay with Alice Arlen and Victor Levin and makes her big-screen directorial debut. Granted she's more impressive as an actress than a filmmaker, but as a director and writer, she makes the most of a storyline that stacks the deck a bit like a Lifetime TV-movie. There are enough realistic surprises that take the plot off the rails in a good way. Looking gaunt and avoiding much make-up, Hunt is really playing a variation of the beaten-down waitress she played in As Good As It Gets, as she carries that same constantly pained expression of disappointment and looks about to explode during moments of emotional duress. However, a decade later, Hunt inhabits the character more naturalistically this time and with a deeper sense of vulnerability and haggard exhaustion. Perhaps to minimize any unnecessary dramatic risk, Hunt cast the other principal roles with actors playing familiar parts. Matthew Broderick effectively portrays Ben as the perpetually dazed man-child he is, while perennial love interest Colin Firth gives texture to the seemingly ideal suitor Frank, especially as he edges toward the breaking point in tolerating the sum of April's foibles.
In one of her increasingly rare screen appearances, Bette Midler gives a scene-stealing performance as Bernice. She lights up the movie with the character's unfettered sense of abandonment while gradually exposing the secrets that threaten to undermine her newly found relationship with her daughter. Other parts are played with minimum fuss - Ben Shenkman as April's physician brother Freddy feeling put-upon for having a biological tie to their mother, and Salman Rushdie (yes, the controversial author of The Satanic Verses which brought him a death sentence from the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989) as April's doctor. Hunt provides the principal actors, especially herself, plenty of good, meaty scenes with opportunities for bravura moments, and they do deliver. It just doesn't quite come together as a whole by the end, and that may be that Hunt is so used to the sitcom format of the long-running series, Mad About You. The incomplete result is that some laughs feel a bit contrived, some scene transitions seem jarring, and some expected character revelations are given short shrift. Nonetheless, the dramatic developments toward the end carry the emotional impact necessary to make the movie truly affecting, and Hunt should be given full credit for a most auspicious debut as a filmmaker.

Ok, I tried. I really, really tried not to compare the movie with the book. I loved the book, a tender, poignant journey of love in which April, albeit unwillingly, learns to accept the difficult person who gave birth to her and slowly learns the devastating truth of her past. But Elinor Lipman says she does not mind the fact that Helen Hunt basically took her book and scissored away everything but a few names and the center plot of the book, and came up with this idiotic film about ticking biological clocks instead.
But I have to wonder, how can she not mind? This hash of a movie bears little resemblance to what it was based on, so why did Helen Hunt not just find someone to write a new screenplay about a woman who wanted to have a baby? Why did she take a brilliant story, with fabulous characters, and turn it into this really rather dumb movie?
In the book, Bernice is difficult but ultimately complex and suprisingly sympathetic by the end, but Bette Midler's Bernice is just a cardboard cutout of the same person. And it's a shame, because Midler would have played the "real" Bernice beautifully if she had had a decent script to work with. And in the book, April is a bit uptight, but not the brittle, haggard neurotic that is portrayed here. And while Colin Firth is, as usual, great to look at, his character is poorly written as well. The male "hero" of the book, Dwight, and his relationship with April, are so appealing, that I cannot believe these two annoying men and their shallow interactions with the main character are supposed to replace that.
I did give this movie two stars because I liked Salman Rushdie playing the part of the doctor and I liked the sweet little twist at the end. But the whole time I watched it, I couldn't help thinking of the wonderful book at home on my shelf and asking, "Why, oh why, did someone have to screw it up so very badly?"

Product Description


A New York schoolteacher hits a midlife crisis when, in quick succession, her husband leaves, her adoptive mother dies and her biological mother, an eccentric talk show host, materializes and turns her life upside down as she begins a courtship with the father of one of her students.
  • Starring: Helen Hunt, Colin Firth
  • Directed by: Helen Hunt
  • Runtime: 1 hour 41 minutes
  • Release year: 2008
  • Studio: Egami

Product Details

  • Synopsis: A New York schoolteacher hits a midlife crisis when, in quick succession, her husband leaves, her adoptive mother dies and her biological mother, an eccentric talk show host, materializes and turns her life upside down as she begins a courtship with the father of one of her students.
  • Starring: Helen Hunt, Colin Firth
  • Supporting actors: Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick, Lynn Cohen, Ben Shenkman, Floanne Ankah, Cherise Boothe, David Callegati, Geneva Carr, Chris Chalk, Brother Eden Douglas, Audrey Elizabeth Fafard, Edie Falco, Janeane Garofalo, John Benjamin Hickey, Rachel Konstantin, Stacie Linardos, Andy Miller, Tommy Nelson, Tim Robbins, Jonathan Roumie
  • Directed by: Helen Hunt
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Runtime: 1 hour 41 minutes
  • Release year: 2008
  • Studio: Egami
  • MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some sexual content
  • ASIN: B001H6BIOS (Rental) and B001FXLZD2 (Purchase)
  • Rights ; Requirements
  • Rental rights: 7 day viewing period Details
  • Purchase rights: Stream instantly and download to 2 locations. Details
  • Compatible with: Mac and Windows PC online viewing, compatible instant streaming devices, TiVo DVRs. System requirements
  • Format: Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)
  • Also available on DVD
  • Then She Found Me DVD ~ Matthew Broderick

    3.2 out of 5 stars(104) $10.65
  • Theatrical Release Information
  • US Theatrical Release Date: September 11, 2008
  • MPAA: Rated R for language and some sexual content
  • Production Company: Black Watch Productions, Blue Rider Pictures, John Wells Productions, Killer Films, Less Is More Pictures
  • Filming Locations: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA | Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA | New York City, New York, USA | Pennsylvania, USA | Steiner Studios - 15 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA

Technical Details

  • US Theatrical Release Date: September 11, 2008
  • MPAA: Rated R for language and some sexual content
  • Production Company: Black Watch Productions, Blue Rider Pictures, John Wells Productions, Killer Films, Less Is More Pictures
  • Filming Locations: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA | Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA | New York City, New York, USA | Pennsylvania, USA | Steiner Studios - 15 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Then She Found Me

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