Sony // 2007 // 91 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 30th, 2009
Sometimes when a door closes...a whole new world opens up.
Ready to feel all fluffy inside? Read on!
Ester Hobbes (Ellen Bry) is in a rough patch. She's used to living the high life, married to a rich guy and cruising through existence adorned in jewelry and wads of cash. Then her husband loses everything and dies, leaving her with nothing but a house rented to a foster family.
So she marches over and inserts herself into the family, with mixed results. The foster parents are aware of her plan to sell the place for fast cash and give her the cold shoulder. The kids? Well, they've all got serious issues, so that's not going to be a picnic. Will Ester eventually come around to accepting what God has in store for her? Yes!
Nice little charmer of a movie, this. It's predictable and sentimental, but gets the job done, if you're clamoring for a lightweight, feel-good affair.
Ellen Bry powers this thing forward in with a subdued, but genuine performance as a lost soul desperately looking for purpose. She does well with the material. Lots of emphatic conversations with others about the crappiness of her life, specifically with the foster parents and the kids, the latter giving her the most opportunity to flex her emotional chops. Her interaction with the kids offer the most juice, especially with Lucas Till's character, a jackass boy who consistently pushes her buttons.
As the story unspools, don't expect many surprises. Despite Ester's persistent bellyaching and tear-shedding, it's obvious she'll end up embracing her new life and giving her heart over to the kids. The particulars of the culmination -- how she stopped the sale of the house, the realization of God's purpose in her life -- may not be evident, but the endpoint sure is.
Still, that's okay. The Lost and Found Family is a movie that's not out to shock anyone with neck-snapping twists or revelations, but rather tell a simple story of a woman's faith journey. And yes this is a God-based film, though not as vivid in its proselytization as other Christian works. The faithful are obviously the target demo for the release.
There you go. A low-key and honest film that won't win any awards for pioneering scriptwriting, but hits all the right targets in matters of the heart. Recommended for anyone looking for a dose of the warm and fuzzies.
The DVD is just as simple: the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen is serviceable as is the 5.1 Dolby Digital mix, though a complete lack of extras hurts the final score.
As family films go, you could do a whole lot worse. The DVD is nothing to rejoice about.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated PG