US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Then She Found Me

By Patrick McCormick | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Then She Found Me
(THINKFilm, 2008)

Are we born into families, or do we fashion them by forging bonds with strangers? At the start of Helen Hunt’s heart-wrenching and endearing comedy about abandonment and adoption, April Epner (Hunt) is a recently wed 39-year-old kindergarten teacher desperate to have a child. But this dream and April are shattered by the sudden betrayal and departure of her childish husband Ben (Matthew Broderick), leaving her devastated, alone, and barren.

Then, with blinding speed, April suffers the death of her mother Trudy (Lynn Cohen), discovers Trudy was not her biological mother, and must deal with the invasion of local talk show celebrity Bernice Graves (Bette Midler), who claims to be her real mom. Meanwhile, Frank Harte (Colin Firth), the erratic, attractive, and equally wounded father of one of April’s students, has started courting her like a manic-depressive, lovesick puppy.

All of this is too much for April. She is still not done grieving her losses when a few months into Frank’s courting, she finds she is pregnant from a post-breakup tryst with Ben, resulting in all sorts of chaos, confusion, and crying—a good deal of it from Frank. And embracing new-mom Bernice proves particularly tough as her stories keep changing.

Still, wounded people do often find their way to one another and occasionally forge new and stronger bonds—and a dazed and dispirited April eventually gets back up on her feet and sorts her path through this maze of grief and chaos, building fresh relations with the mom who left her and the new man who probably will not. In the process she learns to ask for (even demand) the things she needs from them.

This is a small gem of a story about the love fractured people need from one another, and about the way that love and mercy and steadfastness can heal those fractures and give birth to something new.