Then She Found Me Review
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I love a good surprise. I love it when a movie is so much better than I expected it to be—when it challenges me or delights me or even amazes me with moments that are beautiful or memorable or just plain funny. And I was definitely in for a wonderful surprise when I walked into the theater to see first-time director Helen Hunt’s Then She Found Me.

Then She Found Me opens with one of the happiest and most hopeful of occasions: a wedding. But for April (Hunt) and her husband, Ben (Matthew Broderick), that hope doesn’t last. After months of trying to get pregnant, 39-year-old elementary school teacher April starts to worry that she won’t be able to have the child she’s always wanted. And her chances quickly go from slim to none when Ben decides to leave her.

As April struggles to deal with the mess that her life has become, two more people join the whole messy mix. First, there’s Frank (Colin Firth), the father of one of her students, who’s dealing with the breakup of his own marriage while trying to adjust to his new life as a single parent. Then comes April’s birth mother, eccentric TV personality Bernice (Bette Midler), who appears out of nowhere one day, determined to become a part of her daughter’s life.

Still recovering from what feels like an endless sea of loss, April suddenly finds hope for a whole new life—but she’s not sure that she’s prepared to take the risks involved in living it.

Then She Found Me is messy—just like real life. Adapted from the novel by Elinor Lipman, the story is anything but neat—except for its rather comfy chick-flick ending. But even that happy ending requires some sacrifice and compromise.

Like the story, the characters are unpredictable and complicated—and they sometimes make some pretty stupid mistakes. They’re sometimes selfish or thoughtless or weak. Sometimes, they lie. Sometimes, they say things they shouldn’t. In other words, they’re just like real people. And, despite their faults and their occasional lapses in judgement, you can’t help but care about them. That’s due, in part, to the talented cast.

Firth is adorable as awkward and insecure Frank. He’s sweet and caring and attentive—but, unlike the typical chick-flick hunk, he has his limits. Midler, meanwhile, is brilliantly eccentric as Bernice—without crossing the line into unbearable (as she has a tendency to do). And, finally, Hunt is refreshingly—and realistically—un-Botoxed. She looks as worn-out as her character is supposed to feel—thanks, I’m sure, to the added stress of her double role as both star and director. She makes April a character that the audience can relate to (and sympathize with)—even in her less-than-likeable moments.

Together, these three actors have incredible chemistry—not to mention impeccable timing. As a result, their dialogue is wonderfully quick and crisp. And whether they’re making you laugh or warming your heart, they’ll surprise you time and time again.

Then She Found Me may not always be simple and straightforward, but neither is real life—and it’s that sincerity that makes this sweet and surprisingly honest film such a great find.

DVD Review:
Appropriately for such a simple yet thoughtful movie, the DVD extras for Then She Found Me aren’t anything fancy. They do, however, offer plenty of insights into the film and the process that went into making it. The featurette and the cast interviews all discuss the characters, the story, and Hunt’s various roles as star, director, and co-writer. But Hunt goes into even more detail in her commentary. That’s where she really talks (in detail) about the process—about the writing, the production, and the decisions she made along the way.

While the DVD’s special features will add some insight into the movie, though, you definitely don’t need to watch them to appreciate this surprisingly real film about love and betrayal. With or without the extras, Then She Found Me is a sweet, funny, and thought-provoking film that tells a whole lot of story on a very small budget. So if you didn’t get a chance to see it when it was out in limited release, I highly recommend hunting down a copy of the DVD.

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