BootLeg Betty

Another Review: Then She Found Me (Thanks Ms. Mish)

Mister D:Ms. Mish is a dedicated Colin Firth fan. She went to the screening of “Then She Found Me” in Toronto and I begged her to send us a review. She said that the BetteHeads will love this movie and Bette’s character. So enjoy another review

Review: Then She Found Me
Author: Ms. Mish
September 16, 2007

Here’s my mini-review of TSFM, which I absolutely LOVED! The audience response was enthusiastic and noisy and boisterous. Lots of laughing, loud applause, standing “O” at the end.

Please don’t read if you don’t want to see plot spoilers!

What can I say? I had assumed (erroneously) that TSFM would be another light, fluffy, here-today-gone-tomorrow rom/com in the manner of another Colin Firth film, Hope Springs.

So glad to have been proven wrong!

On one level, TSFM is about finding love, but what it’s really about is finding family, in all its forms. Bernice (Helen’s biological mom, played brilliantly by Bette Midler) wants to find the daughter she gave away for adoption. The Epners (April’s adoptive parents) had two children, one adopted, one biological, but we see throughout the film how April’s brother, despite the lack of genes in common, is always there for April. April, despite the loving family she acquired through adoption, wants a biological child of her own, yet resists Bernice’s comic and poignant motherly overtures.

And Frank – Colin’s character – has two children he is raising on his own. He is lonely, bitter, angry, wounded, yet you know he adores those kids and is doing his best. “Then She Found Me” refers to his character as much as Helen’s – Frank needs rescuing as well!

Every character in the film needs to accept the imperfections in those they love before they can find happiness. April’s adoptive parents were not perfect, but they loved her and did their best. Bernice is a vain, self-aggrandizing character who had to make a life-changing decision as a teenager that haunts her as an adult. (I loved Helen Hunt’s reasoning for choosing Midler. She said at the Q&A session on Sunday that Bernice is nowhere near as famous as Bette Midler, but likes to think she is!)

Frank is betrayed not only by his faithless wife, but by April, and the resulting angry confrontation is one of the finest moments of the film. His hurt is heartbreaking to witness, and the viewer has to wonder if the two will ever “find” each other again. It is a beautiful, emotional moment when they do. (No actor portrays heartbreak and redemption as well as Colin.) I love the dialogue in that scene, which of course I can’t remember verbatim, but its gist is that the two don’t promise to never hurt each other again, but accept the idea that they will go on when they inevitably do.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the flower leaves on the heel of the one that crushed it.” Not sure where that quote originated, but it was running through my head after I saw the film. Frank and April both had a lot to forgive, but in the end, what you remember is the loveliness of the life they (along with Bernice) find together. Their willingness to accept an untraditional version of the “perfect” family is what makes life “perfect” for them.

One final, visual surprise in the last moments of the film can’t fail to bring a smile to your face, but that’s one spoiler I am going to keep to myself!

Most of the film was filmed in Brooklyn, NY, where I grew up. April’s mom is buried at Greenwood Cemetery, where my maternal grandparents are buried. There is a scene on Shore Road, with the Verazzano Bridge in the background, right across the street from my high school. My boyfriend (now husband) and I often sat on those benches and, as we said in those days, “made out!”

So thank you, Helen, for a real NYC film that doesn’t scream out “Hollywood!”

Mister D: And thank you, Ms. Mish!

Love, Mister D

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