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Then She Found Me
2 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Helen Hunt

Written By:
Alice Arlen, Victor Levin, Helen Hunt, Elinor Lipman

Helen Hunt, Colin Firth, Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick, Lynn Cohen, Ben Shenkman, Chris Chalk, Brother Eden Douglas, Audrey Elizabeth Fafard, John Benjamin Hickey, Rachel Konstantin, Andy Miller, Maggie Siff, Schuster Vance, Adrianna Bremont, Tommy Nelson, Floanne Ankah, Jonathan Roumie, Daisy Tahan, Geneva Carr, Cherise Boothe, David Callegati, Stacie Linardos, Salman Rushdie, Rabbi Kenneth Stern

Then She Found Me (2007)
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Movie Review by Jarrod
April 30th, 2008

"Then She Found Me' fits the bill for a chick flick, but it is also a sublime bittersweet comedy that marks the auspicious directorial debut of Helen Hunt, who has not been that visible since she won her Oscar for As Good As It Gets, nearly a decade ago. Hunt is 44, but she may actually look a bit older in this film, but she fearlessly lets the camera capture her as she is, without make-up, looking like a woman with a lot of stressful problems in her life. It is a terrific performance on her part, and she is joined by a stellar cast of co-stars. She plays school teacher April Epner; she loves kids and wants some of her own. However, her immature husband Ben (Matthew Broderick) wants to end their marriage. They have one last sexual romp, and she gets pregnant. She finds this out after she has started a new relationship with Frank (Colin Firth), the divorced father of one of her students. She also has to deal with the death of her mother, who actually adopted her, and she is contacted by her birth mother, Bernice (Midler), a talk show host. Bernice wants to be April's best friend, and bond with her, to make up for all that lost time. April questions Bernice's motives and her overall sincerity; Bernice tells her that she was the product of a one-night stand with Steve McQueen, something April obviously is not inclined to believe, and neither are we. Ben eventually comes back and wants her to give him a second chance, so she has to make a lot of difficult decisions, and faces one bombshell after another; she handles the situation well, considering the pressure she must be under. There are plenty of laughs to be had, but Hunt also keeps the movie centered on dramatic developments, allowing the momentum of the story and the strength of the actors to carry it through. This is some of Midler's best work, maybe not ever, but certainly in a very long while. She is not as brassy as she usually is, though Bernice still has a bold and dynamic personality.

There is an awkward tension between Hunt and Broderick, who appeared together in Project X back in 1987, and may have had an off-screen romance of some kind. Firth is charming as always, but I cannot escape the feeling that this character is like so many of his others, modeled after Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. And how odd it is to see Salman Rushdie as April's gynecologist, Dr. Masani. Broderick is effective, but unfortunately Ben is just not that likable or that interesting. This is Hunt's show all the way. The usually pejorative label of chick flick, as I already mentioned, is appropriate here, because many male viewers would most likely pass on it, which is a real shame. Given the talent involved, it should have been better, but that is not to say it is bad by any means, occasional lulls in writing and pacing notwithstanding.

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May 13, 2008 4:53 PM
also wrote a review of Then She Found Me
Thanks, Jarrod, for a perceptive, generous review of this deserving film! You're right to say that it would be too bad if men avoid the film because of its strong appeal as a "chick flick." It attempts and achieves much more than the average film of this sort.

May 13, 2008 5:01 PM
A public apology for a public lapse seems appropriate, so, readers--be advised that my echoing of Jarrod's praise of Helen Hunt's directorial debut was inadvertent--which my dictionary defines as "not duly attentive." I had not read his review when I posted mine--an oversight which indeed was "not duly attentive," and I apologize. Jarrod: mea culpa. Please forgive.

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