Me again. With yet another review!
Tonight I was fortunate enough to see a preview of THEN SHE FOUND ME at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center (thanks to BLB for the notice about it), and thought I’d send you my thoughts and perceptions.
The film is a very small, quiet, non-traditional type of film. It’s got the plot and setup for a typical Hollywood comedy, but it goes in unexpected directions. The characters seem like real people with real issues, and there are never any cheap laughs or maudlin scenes milked for pathos. Instead, the film has a quiet, natural flow to it and there are some very well-written, wonderfully-acted and beautifully filmed scenes.
All the characters are flawed, but Hunt doesn’t make any judgments about them, but instead let’s them be who they are, and let’s the audience see their various sides, good and bad, and let’s us watch as each of them interacts and reacts to the others in ways that seem natural and real.
Colin Firth is the best part of the film – he is priceless. His character is repressing anger at his runaway wife and is awkward at times with Helen Hunt’s character, yet at the same time he displays a chivalrous strength and sexy confidence. Matthew Broderick does a fine job as Helen Hunt’s immature and emotionally wishy-washy husband. The scenes between Broderick and Hunt could have been played for laughs, but instead show how their relationship is indeed funny, but also tragic and frustrating.
Helen Hunt, looking a bit haggard and world-weary as April, does a great job as an actress as well as director. Like Firth’s character, Hunt’s April is at times insecure and vulnerable, but with an intense strength of character bubbling just beneath the surface.
And our Ms. Midler is excellent and unusually low-key in a complicated role as Helen Hunt’s long lost birth mother, Bernice. Her character seems to be at first a very together successful woman (a New York City morning talk show host), but it becomes apparent that she is not everything she seems to be, and has made some not so pleasant choices in her past. The scenes between her and Hunt are very natural and not forced as Hunt’s character comes to terms with this woman who has come into her life, and who makes Hunt face her trust issues due to her mother’s dubious relationship with the truth. Bette’s ability to keep the character from going into caricature, and for striking a balance between making her too good or too bad is admirable.
I know there has been some hopeful talk about Bette being nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for this performance, however, I’m not sure her role was substantive enough to confidently predict this will in fact come to pass. Then again, Dame Judi Dench was nominated for – and subsequently won – an Oscar for a role that had a screen time of “8 minutes.” Well, what the hell, I do hope she gets nominated for this performance – and of course, that she wins!
By the way, there is a scene in the film that is ironic because of the controversy of Bette’s viewpoints on gay marriage – it’s a clip of Bernice on her show hosting two gay couples (one male, the other female) in a show about gay marriage.
When I left the theater there were several people tearing up, but it’s not a typical tearjerker. Again, it is a very nice and touching film – I think most people will enjoy it.
~written by Jeff D.