Wed June 11, 2008
Then She Found Me
The humor necessary to survive . . .
By John DeSando, WCBE's It's Movie Time
"Don't do anything until you've slept. Don't let anybody try to set you up with anyone." Frank (Colin Firth)
That advice for a recently separated 30-something is wise, given that recently Baby Mama and Knocked Up, among others, have treated the challenges of an older woman wanting a baby, usually after life-changing events such as divorce or separation. First-time helmer Helen Hunt's Then She Found Me adds not much to the biological-urgency canon.
It does, however, add a humanity heretofore not seen, a balance between the despotism of time and the humor necessary to survive. Hunt mines that humor deftly with dialogue crisp and rapid, evoking screwball comedy while not diminishing the gravity of the situation ("Why are you talking so fast?" one character asks). Along the way the film gets to comment on child abandonment (an American variation of Mike Leigh's Secrets and Lies) with a divine Bette Midler as talk show host Bernice (alleged mother to Hunt's April) only recently revealing herself ("I'm very verbal during sex") to April, an over-burdened, recently separated school teacher. The dialogue between the two is full of humor, putdowns, and downright deadening truth; the actresses are a delight to watch wrestling reality.
As I am reading David Gilmour's Film Club, I am reminded of the importance of little moments in films that signal emerging talent, sometimes for both actors and directors. Such a moment comes for me in this film when April rests next to emerging boyfriend Frank's (Colin Firth) small child, and they exchange gifts. Hunt's direction of the child is startlingly authentic, and April's response to the child is precisely in character.
Find Then She Found Me, and you may then find truths emerging from recent cinema's discourses on the biological time clock.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time, which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com