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on July 27, 2009
The first thing that comes to my mind about this movie is the utterly realistic dynamics between each member of the family. We have two adopted daughters, and little Amudha acted and reacted in exactly the same manner as our daughters would under similar circumstances. My wife, over and over, identified with Indra, the adoptive mother. The movie accurately depicts not only the normal conflict as a young girl starts to try to change from finding her identity in her mother to creating her own separate identity. It also accurately depicts the feelings of the mother when the adoptive daughter wants to prefer her birth mother. For example, when they would get angry at my wife, our daughters would often assert that their 'real' mother wouldn't treat her like this. The feeling of rejection is hard for an adoptive mother to experience, just as was the pain Indra felt when Amudha rejected her mom for her FANTASY of her birth mother. The movie also depicts Indra finding solace at times like that in her husband's love for her.

There is simply a dynamic between a father and daughter that cannot be duplicated between a mother and daughter. This was clearly shown in this movie. Amudha often ran to her dad for reassurance, protection and even guidance in exactly the same manner our daughters would run to me instead of their mother. The love between father and daughter is so palpable one can almost touch it on screen. And, that is as it should be as the father is (mostly unconsciously) teaching his daughter what to look for in a husband, and she is learning how to express her love for her future husband by (again, mostly unconsciously) 'practicing' love on her father. One vibrant example in the movie occurred when they found a woman they thought was Amudha's birth mother. Amudha literally hid behind her father, just peeking around him to look at this woman. She sought even stronger emotional protection from her dad when the woman insisted that Amudha was not her daughter, in effect rejecting the little girl.

Because the family dynamics are so accurately portrayed, the story itself becomes very real. Because it takes place in Sri Lanka, where there has been war for twenty-five years, there are quite a few war and battle scenes. [The highest Tamil leader was killed just two months before we watched this movie, effectively, according to the Sri Lankan government, ending the war.] Other than some war scenes, there is no reason older children - who can follow subtitles - would not be able to watch it. The ending is quite emotional, especially when Amudha gives her adoptive mother a peck on the cheek.

Every adoptive family should watch this movie. If one is starting with adoptive children, they would be able to see some very accurate adoptive family dynamics. If one has older adoptive children, I am sure you will find many of the scenes quite familiar. One that I can give would be this. As Amudha is changing clothes in their Sri Lankan's host bedroom, she gets into a fight with her mother. At that moment, all Amudha could think of was the emotional support she knew her father would give. So, she scampers into the living room, where Dad is chatting with their host, completely forgetting that she is wearing only panties! Her dad, wisely, instead of getting after her for being 'indecent' loves her up, and I am sure if the scene had been followed further, talked with her - that it is okay to for her to get mad at her mother, but she has to also listen to and obey her.

I cannot imagine anyone who likes movies about families who would not absolutely love this one. Also, with so many single parent movies, it is refreshing to see the different dynamics between a child and both parents. I don't think that many people who watch this movie would come away feeling disappointed. It is too bad that this is little Kannathil Muthamittal's only movie.
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on July 27, 2007
Title: A Peck on the Cheek
Directed By: Mani Ratnam
Presented by: Film Movement ([...])
Format: DVD

Touching, heart wrenching and realistic... Director Mani Ratnam uses his extraordinary cinematic talents to show the life of an orphan who is adopted by adoring parents. On her 9th birthday when told the truth about her, the young girl Amudha is unable to hide her feelings of being deserted as a baby and longs to hold her biological mother in her arms. Her parents are supportive however unsure of how to handle their daughter's growing needs to feel connected. The young girl's determination becomes a journey for her parents as well and leads them into the conflict ridden country of Sri Lanka.

Under constant threat of terrorist attacks and being caught in the many battles between guerilla warriors and the army, the father, mother and daughter travel to great lengths to make the reunion a reality.

The dramatic settings, the thoughtful story line and the remarkable acting by each of the lead actors makes it so easy to understand why this film is winning awards at film festivals around the world. Ratnam shows the harshest side of conflict and doesn't shy from placing the tough topics like a child's first sight of people dying in the foreground.

It's a serious film but ropes in small personal moments that make the audience laugh and chuckle with the actors on screen. It is a must-see film and covers a subject that the world should know more about; the struggles of Sri Lanka. A family film, an educational film and a film for those interested in human rights and those who still breath in hope that one day, peace will conquer the world, not war.
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on February 28, 2011
This movie is wonderful!!! It is about a family who have adopted a daughter. They decide, on her 9th birthday, to tell her she was adopted. The setting is in India (where they live) and war-torn Sri Lanka (where they travel to seek her real mother). The emotions portrayed in this movie are complex, tangible, and feel very real. I could feel the love between the girl and her adoptive father, the confusion between her and her adoptive mother, and her yearning to know her real mother. Additionally, the way they used the camera in this film really added to the emotions that they were evoking. One example is when the child is running around and around her father as she is being told she is adopted - you could just feel the chaos and bewilderment that she was feeling. Throughout the movie there is great use of different angles and sweeping motions of the camera. I truly enjoyed this movie and found it to be an emotionally powerful, beautiful movie.
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on December 28, 2007
I can't believe that it took me this long to find out about this movie. It is a refreshing look at some of the emotional difficulties that a child can go through when adopted. The child actress was wonderful and the story was very touching. I would recommend everyone give this movie a chance it is well worth. Tamil movies are moving on up. I hope more movies like this are discovered.
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on March 5, 2011
I enjoyed this movie a lot. I purchased it because I have been trying to learn Tamil and wanted an opportunity to listen to the language being spoken. With plenty of dialogue this movie was a good choice for that, plus the story was good enough to keep me interested in watching it. I also loved seeing the cultural differences between the film style in India, and ours here in the USA.
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on September 16, 2013
This was a good movie. It really gave me more insight on war torn countries. Very sad.
Also, gave me more understanding for what some children may go through with adoption.
Very good but sad in many ways.
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on April 27, 2016
It is quite good acting. I especially felt touched by the adoptive parents as they were so patient and respectful of their daughter's feelings, even though she acted quite spoiled sometimes. The war scenes are very realistic and give you a real sense of what conflicts are like.
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on April 19, 2016
This a very charming movie from India. Also, so interesting to see a film from southern India and Sri Lanka. I enjoyed the story and the Bollywood moments. Overall, it's a little like something you would see on Lifetime Channel if it were in English.
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on October 23, 2015
A window into the Tamil side of the conflict through the eyes of an adopted child. Many situations were not believable, for example the child was under fire more than once and her parents didn't immediately flee the war area.
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on November 5, 2012
There are a number of scenes in this film that are so well acted, so completely believable, passionate, and convincing that - after it had ended - I began wondering how any director could wring such performances from any actors, especially the young girl playing the lead and her two mothers, while cameramen, technicians, and other actors stood about and watched. It is worth a careful watching just for those several scenes alone. There are a half-dozen or more fine performances by the actors. There are also several surrealistic, lighthearted, musical interludes which do not advance the story so much as illustrate relationships and feelings. They seemed odd at first, but then blended in almost like dream sequences to carry the story out of the convincingly staged war scenes that serve as background for the beginning and end of the story. Don't watch this if you are cold-hearted or cynnical - it will make you uncomfortable. I'd give it ten stars if I could.
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