65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Movie displays ignored subject in our society.. "unwanted children" Good movie but could have been better!
Being a single guy myself, looking into the adoption process of becoming a father of a special needs (older/behavioral) child, I was excited about this movie coming out. I have always believed that we need more movies such as this one that shows adopting an older child and single adoption in a good light. There are many older kids such as the one displayed in the movie...
Published on February 10, 2008 by D. Crawford
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Hysterical is the New Calm" ...
The most reviled review is the "three-star" review. Most people interpret it as a failure to commit. One either (allegedly) "loves" a film or "hates" it ... thumbs up or thumbs down. Well, however I try to spin this film, it still ends up "okay." A big three-stars.
I enjoy what John Cusack brought to the role (vulnerability, sensitivity, quiet contemplation...
Published on March 7, 2008 by Dr. E
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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Movie displays ignored subject in our society.. "unwanted children" Good movie but could have been better!,
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Being a single guy myself, looking into the adoption process of becoming a father of a special needs (older/behavioral) child, I was excited about this movie coming out. I have always believed that we need more movies such as this one that shows adopting an older child and single adoption in a good light. There are many older kids such as the one displayed in the movie that need homes. I know this because I am also a child therapist and I work with many of them. What I liked about the movie is how it shows what truly a single man goes through when trying to adopt. I have an older sister just like the one in the movie. Everything that Cusack's sister said to him, my sister said to me. "These older kids have problems, why would you want to deal with that?" she has stated to me. Also how the system looks at a single man not worthy or strange to want to raise kids is there also. It's sad we live in a society in which men are not suppose to love kids... unless they are his own or unless they are on the football field or something. The lack of positive male role models is one thing that is damaging our society.
The missing part of the movie that I thought could have made it better is I was expecting the kid to have been more difficult... displaying behavior that would have made it harder to love him. The little guy in the movie was easy to love. That's what didn't make sense to me. He was very socially odd; however, his behavior was not all that bad. I don't understand why a therapeutic foster home or family couldn't handle him. He wasn't aggressive physically or verbally and didn't have any of the significant issues such as self injurious or sexually acting out behavior. He was just a very neglected, possibly abused child that lived in a fantasy world in order to cope with his reality. Also I didn't understand why the so called mental health experts in the movie thought this behavior was abnormal taking into account that the kid was abandoned and likely abused. It is very common for severely abused and neglected children to live in a fantasy world. I can't count the number of group home kids I have worked with that stated that their mother just bought them an xbox360 or something else great and I know they don't even have parents. It's easier to make up false stories about being loved than to live with the reality of not being wanted. Also I wish there were more heart felt moments in the movie. The ones that were in the movie were basically ruined by watching the trailer.
Also I have read many reviews stating that the end of the movie was terrible. I thought the last scene when Cusack told the boy how important and special he is was the best part of the movie. That scene made the movie! There are many, many kids who need to hear what Cusack said to that boy. Most people who don't have any experience working with unwanted children may think that scene was corny, however those who do have experience working with or being one of those kids, that scene was perfect. Great movie however just a little under five stars!
By the way, to totally appreciate this movie you have to look at it as a pure drama and not science fiction. Watch the movie with the understanding that unwanted, abused and abandoned kids make up fantasy stories in order to cope with their reality and the so called "science fiction" part of the movie will make more sense. Also take into account that an adoption process takes at least a year. All of these "sappy" moments could have EASILY happened in a year time frame.
This movie could also be used in group therapy for foster kids as a way to get them to express themselves about their current issues. Many foster and adopted kids have experienced many of the same situations the young boy in the movie faced. The movie is good to use to start a discussion and explore feelings and help kids gain awareness about themselves... just a thought.
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!,
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It was fabulous!!! We laughed, I cried.. it had all the emotions a good movie gives!! It was GREAT!!!
I cant believe some of the reviews I have seen that it's about a man becoming a father blah blah - that isn't what the movie is about at all! It is all about a little boy that so traumatized by being abandoned that he developed a belief in ORDER to survive. His relationship to John Cusak's character was the first "healthy" human connection in his life - and from the consistency of that relationship, learning to trust and believe in someone else, he was able to breakthrough his disassociative thoughts and connect with another person and enter the "real" world. Totally heartwarming! I wish Hollywood would create more movies like this - THOUGHT PROVOKING, INSPIRING, CARING
69 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Gentle Film That Deserves Wider Attention,
MARTIAN CHILD was marketed incorrectly - that can be the major reason for its lack of success in the theatrical release. While all the multiplex theaters are overflowing with loud, coarse, raunchy, and special effects driven financial successes (with major exceptions, of course!), little meaningful and sensitive films such as this are submerged and don't last long. Should the name of the film have been different? Should the advertisements been better designed? Who knows, but for those who now have the opportunity to buy or rent MARTIAN CHILD, there is a special experience in store.
Based on the novel 'The Martian Child' by David Gerrold (beautifully adapted for the screen by Seth Bass and Jonathan Tolins), Director Menno Meyjes has gathered an exceptional cast to present this story about human needs and how we all find security in the warmth of other caring beings. David (John Cusack) is a successful science fiction writer who is a widower, still grieving for his wife. His agent Jeff (Oliver Platt), his sister Liz (Joan Cusack) and his wife's best friend Harlee (Amanda Peet) aid his 'convalescence', but David feels the need for a child. When social worker Sophie (Sophie Okonedo) calls David concerning an available strange little boy Dennis (Bobby Coleman) who believes he is from the planet Mars and hides inside a box, covered with sunscreen and dark glasses, David responds: he, after all, writes science fiction and is attracted to the idea that Dennis believes he is here from Mars on a mission. Against the advice of his practical sister, David agrees to take Dennis home, feeling that he is one of the few who can relate to Dennis' behavior.
Life at home is not easy, but with time David and Dennis bond and Dennis comes out of his box to become 'normal'. It is the prolonged journey on which David and Dennis embark that holds the meat of the story. Dennis has been deserted as a small child and finds security in believing he is a visiting Martian who will be 'taken home' to Mars when his mission to understand human beings is complete. David's persistent parenting (quoting Churchill's 'Never ever, ever ,ever, ever, ever give up'), while tested to the extreme, results in a bonding with Dennis that is heart wrenchingly beautiful. And how each of the characters' lives is changed by this extraordinary relationship brings the film to a touching close.
In addition to the fine performances by both Cusacks, Peet, Platt, and Okonedo, there are brief but noteworthy cameos by Anjelica Huston and Richard Schiff among others. This is a film that makes a major statement about parenting and single parenting in particular and does so with kindness, tenderness, and sincere emotion. Please see this film. Grady Harp, February 08
42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Will leave you with a tear in your eye, but a smile in your heart,
The last person widowed author David Gordon (John Cusack) expected to call him was Sophie (Sophie Okonedo) the adoption counselor he and his wife had spoken to about getting a child. But, Sophie said she had someone special for him to see--so he went.
What he saw was a kid-size Amazon box with his adoption candidate inside. Dennis (Bobby Coleman) was telling everyone he came from Mars. Sophie thought David would be particularly adept at dealing with a kid like him since he was a science fiction author himself.
Something touches a chord with David. He was a different kid himself--he wouldn't want to bring a kid into the world, but there's one who really needs him--and maybe he needs the kid, too.
Despite advice from his sister to reconsider, David accepts the challenge and chooses to take Dennis into his home and heart. Parenthood was an adventure that David was completely unprepared for.
"Martian Child" depicts who David and Dennis come to accept each other. They face loss of a pet they've both come to love, a burgeoning love interest with Marlee (Amanda Peet) and dealing with the California bureaucracy governing adoptions. Both Cusack and Coleman do an excellent job playing their respective parts. You can tell there's real chemistry between the pair. The remainder of the supporting cast is very good too.
The film is based upon the book by the same title written by David Gerrold, a noted sci-fi and fantasy author. The book is semi-fiction. I haven't read the book, so it's not possible for me to comment on which is better. I have read Mr. Gerrold and very much enjoyed much of his work.
"Martian Child" was well worth the matinee price my husband and I paid to see the film, but we both agreed the viewing was a once in a lifetime event. Our chief problem with the film was we couldn't really see a niche for it. It's really not a date film. Children would probably tire of the film long before it was over. While both my husband and I are fans of Gerrold's, "Martian Child" may have a limited appeal to science fiction fans as well.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Life From A Safe Distance" ~ Lucky Charms, Hot Coffee And A Dog Named Somewhere,
The veritably unknown '07 film release `Martian Child' stars John Cusack, one of my favorite actors. His presence is always a sure sign that the movie will be witty, articulate and funny. Joining John in this touching and entertaining feature is his sister Joan Cusack, Amanda Peet and an enchanting little boy named Bobby Coleman in the role of Dennis, a vulnerable orphan who disguises the pain of abandonment by pretending to be a Martian.
While the plot is predictable, the dialogue and on-screen relationships come across as real and completely believable. What really won me over was the profoundly touching interaction between John and Bobby, they are absolutely magical together. There's one particularly memorable scene where the two do a hilarious little robotic dance together to the song `Satellite' by Guster. I smile every time it comes to mind.
My Ranking: 'Martian Child' may move a little slow for some viewers but I found it to be a truly rewarding viewing experience.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story, clean dialog,
These days we often think we need the overdone violence, sex, foul language, and fast pace that most films offer or we just aren't stimulated by what's coming at us from our DVD player or movie screen. Martian Child is a great contradiction to the sterotype movie of today. It's a warm, sometimes a little sappy, story about a man who had planned to adopt a child with his wife but when she died he thought he couldn't do it on his own - then he changes his mind and adopts a troubled young boy who thinks he's from Mars. There is plenty of humor atop a story that begs us to all look more closely at our own society and reach out to the many kids who don't have a family to care for them. You'll find no sex in this film, no gratuitous violence, no foul language, no sexual innuendo, which to me, was very welcome. Kudos to John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Joan Cusack and the other actors for giving life to this sweet film.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the "Martian" in all of us,
I first saw "Martian Child" because I was intrigued by the premise of a child that thought he was from Mars. After watching the movie, though, I realized that we all have a bit of the "Martian" in us. Dennis (Bobby Coleman) has been abandoned by his parents and spends his days hiding under a large box, seeing the world only through the handle slot. Although most people do not go this far in expressing their feeling of not belonging, many of us have experienced at least some degree of rejection and disenfranchisement, and this makes it easy to understand why Dennis finds it difficult to come out of his box. As science fiction writer David, played superbly by John Cusack, patiently draws him out, the two form a bond, and Dennis begins to make the transition between his isolated and lonely life to one that is more normal--although far from ordinary. Dennis still has plenty of quirks, including the need to wear a weight belt to keep him from floating away due to the fact that Earth's force of gravity is lower than that of Mars.
The journey from box to being David's son is one fraught with troubles and humor, and watching this movie is somehow rejuvenating. Cusack's portrayal of David, with his deep affection for his new son and his humorous responses to Dennis's quirky statements and behavior is heartening. His sensitivity to Dennis's feelings is touching, as well; when Dennis is expelled from school for stealing and being "different from the others," David does not tell him he was expelled but that he (David) and the teacher agreed that a new school would be a good idea.
Dennis continues to tell David that he is on a mission from Mars, and his acts of stealing are part of that mission; he is gathering information to take back to Mars with him. David is annoyed when Dennis still believes he is a Martian after staying with him for some time, but he begins to notice strange evidence that there may be some truth to the story. Dennis makes "Martian wishes," for example, that always come to pass exactly as wished. Could he truly be from Mars after all? The truth does not come out until the end of the movie.
This is a truly splendid movie that treats a painful subject in a fairly light and amusing manner yet still demonstrates respect and sensitivity toward Dennis. Anyone who has ever felt that he didn't belong can identify with Dennis, and he is a character that you care about. John Cusack's work in the movie is stellar, and I was literally shocked to discover that the movie was not a hit at the box office. Even the music and the choreography of the "nice talk" scene with Dennis and David to the tune of "Satellite" are charming. This movie is a refreshing change from the usual formula films that are as predictable as clockwork. It's offbeat but thoroughly engaging, and despite some inevitable challenges that Dennis and David must go through, it is a feel-good movie that leaves the viewer feeling that anything is possible. After watching it the first time, I knew I was going to buy it. I recommend it!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended,
This movie made me fall in love with John Cusack again. It's a touching film that resonates with those of us who don't feel we fit in all that well - as kids and even as adults. It's also about healing from difficult things in the past, whether they were hurts caused viciously or without malice.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Touching Movie,
I thought this film was enjoyable and things played out at a steady pace, not too fast and not too slow. Early on you develop a curiosity about the child (Dennis), who claims he's from Mars, hence the title "Martian Child". He is pretty peculiar, choosing to spend most of his time in a cardboard box at first for fear of the sun's damaging rays and possible social interaction, wearing a weight belt made of batteries so he won't float off into space, choosing to eat only Lucky Charms cereal, thinking he has special alien abilities, and "collecting" other people's possessions, but John Cusack's character (David) sees past all of this and sees into the heart of an child unsure about the stability of his world. David welcomes Dennis into his home and feels that adopting him is appropriate. They have a few troubles but David handles everything with the utmost patience and understanding at a very rare level, a level not usually present in the stressed out parents common in today's society. In the end, Dennis trusts the trustworthy David and there is a positive resolution to the movie's final climax. This is a movie worth seeing if you love John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Amanda Peet, and Oliver Platt, but also if you are not familiar with them you will probably still want to see it if you love children and wish to see them happy. It is a touching movie.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must See for Adoptive Parents,
We just went to see this movie with 3 of our daughters. It was a wonderful movie, funny, entertaining, serious, romantic, all rolled into one.
All adoptive parents or those thinking about adopting should see this movie.
It explores the hurt and pain of rejection, and the unconditional love of a father to his son. It explores some of the crisis adoptive parents face with their children.... stealing,lying, emotional isolation, connecting and unconditional love. It is really just a great movie.
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