Miami International Film Festival: Then She Found Me

Palm Beach Post
Miami International Film Festival: Three Movies To Look Forward To
by Hap Erstein

  • The 25th annual Miami International Film Festival in on now, continuing through Sunday. I haven’t had much time to go down there and see many movies, but did catch a few of the more commercial independent films whose directors and stars came to the area to do promotional interviews.

    For instance, I spoke with Helen Hunt, who has not been too prominent on film since winning her Oscar a decade ago for As Good As It Gets. But she is going to impress a lot of people with her new film, Then She Found Me, which she directed, co-write and stars in. She plays an elementary school teacher who is abandoned by her new husband (Matthew Broderick), followed by the arrival of a single father (Colin Firth) of a student of hers.

    But the main event is the sudden appearance of her birth mother, a pushy talk show host (Bette Midler) who wants to be involved in her life. The casting of Midler almost pulls the film too far into comedy, but Hunt has a steady hand and she keeps the film more in the drama category. Actually, Midler is not the most eyebrow-raising stroke of casting. The script calls for a gynecologist and who did Hunt use in the role? Formerly hunted novelist Salman Rushdie.

  • Also first-rate is a film called The Visitor, director Tom McCarthy’s follow-up to his wise, wry The Station Agent. It is also a character study of a loner, a stagnating economics professor who is jolted out of his comfort zone when he discovers a couple of illegal aliens who have taken up residence in his New York apartment. He not only is personally affected by them, but becomes embroiled in their legal battle when one of them is arrested, detained in a Queens warehouse-turned-prison and threatened with deportation.

    The professor is played by Richard Jenkins (The Kingdom, North Country, I Heart Huckabees), a veteran character actor whose face you will absolutely recognize and who is stunning in his first leading movie role.

  • The third film to keep an eye out for is Married Life, a look at relationships set in the post-World War II formality of 1949, in which Chris Cooper plays a man married to the terrific Patricia Clarkson, but he has fallen out of love with her and is having an affair with Rachel McAdams. Rather than put his wife through the pain of divorce, he decides to kill her.

    The film is full of quirks, but probably too slow for most mainstream tastes. Still, it is extreme well acted by Cooper and Clarkson, whom I talked to and will be writing more about in The Palm Beach Post when the film opens here this spring.

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