Then She Found Me
dir Helen Hunt
scr Alice Arlen, Victor Levin, Helen Hunt
with Helen Hunt, Colin Firth, Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick, Ben Shenkman, John Benjamin Hickey, Salman Rushdie, Lynn Cohen, Kenneth Stern, Tim Robbins, Janeane Garofalo, Edie Falco
release US 25.Apr.08, UK 19.Sep.08
07/US 1h40
Then She Found Me
Is it serious? Hunt, Firth and Broderick

midler robbins garofalo
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Then She Found Me A bittersweet combination of comedy and drama, this sensitive film has enough strong material in it to make it worth seeing, even if it sometimes feels under-developed and a little too heart-tugging.

April (Hunt) is a 39-year-old New York schoolteacher whose worries about her biological clock are only intensified when her husband Ben (Broderick) decides he doesn't want to be married anymore. And as she tries to put her life back together, her adoptive mom dies, followed by contact from a brassy minor celebrity (Midler) who claims to be her biological mother. April finds herself turning unexpectedly to Frank (Firth), the father of a student, who offers her sane advice in the middle of all of this insecurity.

Clearly, this film is a sort of romantic comedy, and it's nice to see that Hunt and her fellow screenwriters avoid most of the cliches of the genre by downplaying both the romance and the comedy. Hunt's low-key approach may sometimes feel a bit dull, but it beautifully undercuts the artificiality of most movies. And nowhere is this seen more than in Hunt's face: shock horror, she actually looks like a frazzled 39-year-old.

This meandering, scruffy tone pays off as we invest ourselves in the characters, all of whom are given an offhanded charm by the strong cast. Even Midler manages to ground her larger-than-life character as a woman who isn't sure whether to believe her own mythology. While Firth's kind toughness warms the film from the inside out. Hunt nicely bounces off both of them, catching April's awkward blend of intelligence and haplessness. There are also a number of rather starry side roles and cameos, which are also infused with real-life subtext.

Yet even with its frequently hilarious scenes, the film doesn't feel like a comedy. It's more like a relational character study punctuated with moments of humour, pain and tough reality, as the plot's serious turns vividly bring out the central theme that we both love and hurt the people around us. In other words, it's not quite funny or original enough to be particularly notable. But at least it's a fresh take on the chick flick.

cert 15 themes, language, innuendo 1.May.08

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© 2008 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall