15 February 2008

Let it BIFF

The Boulder International Film Fest is here again! Robin Beeck, who puts her heart and soul into creating this program, likes a crowd-pleaser opener, and last night's opening night premiere, Helen Hunt's directorial debut, Then She Found Me, was pretty good (terrible title, good film). (Most successful in this regard: Millions; least successful: The Sisters. Ugh.) Much of the fare at this festival is heavy: there's a lot of pain in the world and a lot of people out documenting it, as evidenced by many of the films I watched as a member of BIFF's selection committee this year. But this was a moving, grown-up fiction feature about a woman searching for family on her terms.

Helen Hunt stars as a going-on-40 schoolteacher reckoning with her break from her husband (Matthew Broderick), her attraction to the father of one of her young pupils (Colin Firth, as appealing as ever), and the reemergence of her birthmother (Bette Midler). (And yes, that was indeed Salman Rushdie playing her OB doc! ha ha!) It was funny and sad, and said some things about having kids you don't often hear in the movies. Hunt's character, April, really wants to get pregnant and have a baby, as she was adopted herself, but everyone keeps urging her to adopt. There was a great line (I wasn't reviewing so I didn't write it down) where her younger brother, born to their mother after April was adopted, says in essence that being born to someone isn't necessarily better than being adopted. I loved that because you almost never hear anyone say that anywhere, much less in the movies.

I've written about this before, but I will never forget our friend's mom telling us that in some ways adoption might make for a healthier parent-child relationship because you as a parent are not looking for your reflection in your child but instead are more likely to see them as they are. Now I think there's a lot of truth in that.

So this very well written movie made me cry a few times (even if I hadn't been especially weepy the ending would have gotten to me) and made me laugh a lot, too. It was a sweet, sharp, and hopeful film, only a little murky for me in a couple of spots (I hated that opening and closing device, the voiceover anecdote about the kid learning to trust by jumping off the stairs into his father's arms). As always, before the film I'd been thinking maybe I'd go have a drink and hobnob after the film, but as soon as it was over I wanted to be quiet. Besides, it was Valentine's Day and I wanted to get home to my sweetie for the remainder of the evening, as he had no interest in seeing the film (it looks like a chick flick, and the presence of Colin Firth only reinforced that notion -- can you say Hope Springs?). So I'll rent it when it comes out on DVD -- I dared my sweetie to watch it without getting teary at the end, which he may well be able to do, but I know I'll cry again. And he'll enjoy it more than he thought he would, I'm sure.

Before I left the theater, however, I stopped and had my picture taken by the Fashionista photographer. I'll post the link when this year's pictures are up.

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