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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Winter 2008

Then She Found Me (2007) movie review

Daughter Dearest: Be Careful What You Wish For


A drab kindergarden teacher's life changes in a few days, but it takes longer for her to realise the possibilities.

April Epner (Helen Hunt) is a colourless New York teacher, raised Jewish by her adoptive parents. She is quietly and relentlessly desperate to give birth to a child -- to have someone she is "truly attached" to. In the space of two days her emotionally-retarded husband leaves and her adoptive mother dies.

As she stands in shock amidst the classroom chaos created by her husband suddently quitting his teaching job, a single father (Firth) counsels her "Don't do anything, think anything, until you've slept".

Movie Poster, Then She Found Me, Festivale film review; 220x326

Movie poster, Then She Found Me

Life can change in a heartbeat.

Movie moments later April is accosted in the school stairwell by a representative of her previously anonymous minor-celebrity mother (Bette Midler).

April vacilates between new love with Firth (the father of two children whose wife left to 'travel and paint the world'), a new mother who has a story for every occasion, the possibility of a pregnancy, and the pull of the man-boy she marriedc.

Writer/director Joss Whedon (not connected with this project) extols the virtue of comedians as actors because they can "do everything". Then I Found Her from the cast looks like a comedy. Actor and director Helen Hunt is known for her breakthrough role in TV's Mad About You, Midler as a comediene, Broderick and Firth are well known comedy performers. But this is April's story of unrelieved woe.

Expectations of a light comedy don't do any favours for the film. Instead of fun, the audience enter into the world of a woman who feels cheated by adoption and childlessness. She has an iron dreariness, an example of the tyranny of the 'weak'. She pushes her chosen desperation onto those around her, pressing blame on others and making such a show of her thwarted desires than she eclipses her mother as the official drama queen of the family.

She skilfully makes a show of herself, flaunting an alleged faith with displays like saying prayers over crackers in a restaurant.

April would be more sympathetic is she was so determined to be pathetic. She takes little or no responsibility for her own life and happiness and is more than content to spread the unhappiness. If your taste is for the determinedly worthy film, this could be for you. If you are looking for charm, entertainment, or inspiration look elsewhere.

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by Ali Kayn
Due for Australian release 2007
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.

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Just the facts:

Title: Then She Found Me (2007)
Written by: Alice Arlen (screenplay) and Victor Levin (screenplay) and Helen Hunt (screenplay) Elinor Lipman (novel)
Directed by: Helen Hunt
Running time: 100 mins
Rating: M

The Players: Helen Hunt, Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick, Colin Firth, Salman Rushdie

Official website:
IMDb entry

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