Directors: Menno Meyjes
There were not too many movies in the theatres here because of the ongoing strike between producers and the multiplex owners and also because of the IPL. The choice for a movie was limited to Martian Child, 3:10 to Yuma and Fireflies in the Garden. We had already watched 3:10 to Yuma, a high recommendable movie with a strong cast. We zeroed in on Martian Child.
Now the movie was released in the USA back in November 2007 (based on a novel by screenwriter David Gerrold) but it was released in India only a week back.
David Gordon (John Cusack), a science fiction writer has lost his wife two years earlier and is still not able to get over it completely. The only one who mourns with him is Somewhere (His Dog). David is weighing the possibility of adopting a six-year old orphan boy named Dennis (Bobby Coleman).David’s sister, Liz (Joan Cusack), tries to talk him out of adopting a child, because he doesn’t know the first thing about parenting.
There is something different about Dennis; he is a hyper sensitive kid who thinks he is from the planet Mars. He believes he has been sent by the Martians to learn about human beingness. David however has made up his mind and wants to adopt the ‘Martian child’.
David begins to enjoy being a Daddy, encouraged in his endeavour by his wife’s friend Harlee (Amanda Peet), with whom he shares a great chemistry. He has so much fun being a parent that he is not able to write on a book sequel for which he is already paid and is about to miss the deadline.
David is letting Dennis be himself…and it is time for Dennis to go back home (Mars)…
The story line is extremely simple. It is about a boy who has difficulty to ‘fit in’. Yet the freshness and the sensitivity which the topic is dealt is worth watching.
My take is Bollywood movie fans will find the movie a bit slow paced and lacking in adrenalin thumping climax.
There are two levels at which this movie can be watched:
LEVEL 1: Watch the movie as a light hearted, nice and feel good comedy/family caper.
LEVEL 2: Try and get the message behind the light hearted comedy layer (Mainly about an adult-children relationship)
At LEVEL 1, the movie is as good as you paid. The humour is pretty natural. The beauty of the comedy is that all the actors never tried to hard for the comic timing.
At LEVEL 2, I would say it’s a good watch because you are entertained through out with those little idiosyncrasies of Dennis (As an ET child) and David (A clumsy widower with free spirited attitude). The movie is interspersed in between with some of the most provoking dialogues –
“Sometimes we forget that children have just arrived on the earth. They are a little like aliens, coming into beings as bundles of energy and pure potential, here on some exploratory mission and they are just trying to learn what it means to be human. “A must watch for those who want an extra dose on parenting. This is Hollywood typical in terms of climax treatment and also because it gives you some room to think on your way back.
CAVEAT: The role of Amanda Peet could have been more (She looked simple and elegant).
To help dig deeper on how to enjoy the movie…