Friday, July 4, 2008

Then She Found Me

On a hot afternoon earlier this week, I joined two friends at the movies to see THEN SHE FOUND ME, starring Helen Hunt, Bette Midler, Colin Firth and Matthew Broderick. The theater was cool and very, very private. In fact, we were the only ones there. Too bad, because the movie was definitely worth seeing.

The story line turned out to be about adoption, search and reunion, infertility and a deeply buried longing to connect with someone who shared your genes. Helen Hunt, who wrote the movie, directed it, and starred in it, has devoted the last ten years of her life to getting it made.

Hunt plays April Epner, a New York schoolteacher who hits a midlife crisis when, in quick succession, her husband leaves, her adoptive mother dies and her biological mother suddenly inserts herself into her life. The beleaguered April subsequently forms an unexpected bond with her biological mother, the overbearing, third-rate morning TV host Bernice, played convincingly by Bette Midler, and takes tentative steps towards motherhood with a new man in her life played by Colin Firth. At its heart, however, the matter-of-fact film poses some thoughtful observations on what a late-30s woman goes through when she is facing a possibly childless future. “You can adopt,” urges her mother before she dies. April, who is herself adopted, refuses to consider it, leaving the audience to imagine the “whys”. There is an unexpected pregnancy with the husband who has left her and a planned pregnancy using donor insemination.

Both role and movie fit Hunt as comfortable as a favorite bathrobe. She won the three of us over long before the final tiny twist of the unexpected ending. “Chick flick?” For sure. You’ll need a tissue, but you’ll leave smiling. Ahhh!