Friday, May 16, 2008

Then She Found Me, Young @ Heart

It's raining, I'm working from home, it's Friday, I'm burned out from a long work week, and I just checked movie times and I can easily leave here in 1/2 hour for a $6.50 matinee of "The Visitor." I am such a slacker. (Am I? I just worked two 11 hour days in a row, and have been stuck at this computer now for 6 today without moving.)

(Which reminds me, I should shower before going out in public.)

Last week - well, nearly two weeks ago - I saw both "Then She Found Me" and "Young @ Heart." (No, I am not being whimsical, that's how it's titled.) When I tell people about "Young @ Heart" now I am quick to say that I loved it, but the truth is that I felt somewhat bored during the documentary portions of it and felt cheated that there wasn't more concert footage. The film is about a senior choir in New England who has traveled the world performing a series of songs that include rap, pop. rock. Think the rapping granny from "The Wedding Singer" but with serious musical talent. Still, part of the joy of watching is admiration for how well they can do despite their advanced ages and multiple infirmities - one of the standouts is a man on an oxygen machine who still manages to pull off a heart-wrenching version of Coldplay's "Fix Me" while seated in a chair. There is no soundtrack, but I did find a CD of theirs on iTunes, and am playing it often.

"Then She Found Me" is the directorial debut of Helen Hunt, who stars as yet another almost-40 year old woman desperate to have a child. (Remember when the trend was buddy cops?) I keep coming at these from a strange place, being a woman just as childless only even older, with fewer prospects, and something is starting to bother me. It's not what you'd expect, that these films awaken in me a yearning to have a baby, but that they don't. I am 45 and I never had that driving desire, and it saddens me some wondering why I haven't. I sit in the dark theater and watch frame after frame of cooing babies, and yes, they are adorable, but I don't want my own, and I feel odd admitting it.

It's a decent film, though, with Bette Midler dialing down some to play the birth mother who gave up Helen's character for adoption, and Colin Firth playing a decidedly non-traditional love interest (he's messy and complicated and has issues, but then again, he's Colin Firth so he's hot even when being an ass), and Matthew Broderick as a shlumpy childish husband. And it also earns points for tackling the issue of adoption vs. birth head-on, where most films simply allow the main characters to get away with saying "nothing against adoption, but I want my own flesh and blood child," which is difficult to accept when you are part of a family that has been filled with adopted children. ("Get over yourself" would be my response if asked.) In this movie, we have the dynamic of the adopted girl, now a grown woman, wanting to carry her genetic child, while being forced to bond with the genetic mother she isn't sure she needs or wants in her life. I won't give away the rest of the movie, but I think it came around to a positive, responsible, place without being preachy.

Now, off to "The Visitor."


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