Then She Found Me Helen Hunt

Then She Found Me Helen Hunt
Reportedly, Helen Hunt was crushed when her directorial debut didn’t get the promotional push it deserved, hitting just a limited number of theatres last spring. I hope this DVD release rectifies that shortcoming. Then She Found Me is a smart, funny and touching drama about 39-year-old school teacher April Epner (Hunt), who within days gets married and separated, loses her adopted mother and finds her birth mother, whom she doesn’t trust. Based on Elinor Lipman’s novel, Then She Found Me is about adoption. On a deeper level, it is about betrayal and forgiveness. Credit Hunt for not taking emotional shortcuts and going for easy laughs. Her characters are complex and unpredictable, starting with April, whose confusion as both victim and victimizer we share. Husband Ben (nicely played by Matthew Broderick) abandons her but wants to reconcile even though they are not compatible. The ever-reliable Colin Firth balances wit and bitterness as Frank, a single father whose wife just left him and whom falls for April despite his doubts. Bette Midler plays flighty TV host Bernice, who suddenly announces that she is April’s birth mother but has trouble telling April the truth about abandoning her at birth. The characters strike a realistic chord and avoid Hollywood glamorization. Hunt looks downright gaunt as schoolteacher April. There are laughs throughout but this film is played as a drama. Even Salman Rushdie’s cameo as an obstetrician is delivered straight up. Hunt’s directing is consistent, avoiding predictability and sentimentality. Her character is self-deprecating on screen, while she herself is humble on her director’s commentary. She reveals that the film took ten years to make and was shot with a low budget despite an Oscar under her belt. Her comments are helpful for any first-time director. The behind-the-scenes featurette is a predictable collage of back-slapping, though the one-on-one interviews with Hunt and her cast offer more production insight. Then She Found Me deserves a second life on DVD. (TVA)