My Martian Child

I wasn't really sure what to expect from a film called My Martian Child. The scene in the trailer of a kid hiding in an Amazon box with the trademark logo was enough to intrigue me. It features John Cusack, his sister Joan, Bobby Coleman and Amanda Peet.

The premise is that John Cusack is David, a fairly successful science fiction writer, who is recently widowed. His wife and he had plans to adopt a child, but they are unfulfilled. Joan Cusack is Liz, the author's sister (who better to play your sister in a film than your actual sister?) who is a somewhat overwhelmed mother of two boys, and an average American mom. "Sometimes it's not the child you want, but it's the child that needs you," was at work when David is contacted by the orphanage. Bobby Coleman is Dennis, an antisocial boy who has setup a fixed delusion the size of this planet, and truly believes that he is a visitor from Mars. With great hesitation, they decide that David can become a foster father to Dennis, with the intent to adopt.

While raising a child is never easy, trying to raise one who believes he is a Martian is a level or two of difficulty higher. Through some clever Hollywood scripting, at a few points we start to wonder if the child really is from this planet as he exhibits some "special abilities," like tasting the color of M&M's, his knowledge of astronomy, or seemingly altering the outcome of the local minor league Baseball game beyond the odds of probability. As the film progresses, Amanda Peet is introduced as Harlee, a landscape architect who wants to be more to David.

All of this builds as the emotions become stronger. Dennis, who has been hurt and rejected several times before is constantly pushing the limits to see if his adopted father can really stay close to him. David develops love beyond what he thought he would, but it is still hard for him to assume the parent role as he wants to be the child's friend. Both give us strong performances as this complex relationship develops, and changes.

My Martian Child is definitely different, in a good way. It's quirky, and offbeat at times, but strongly emotional and involving throughout. I just wasn't sure where we were going for most of it, but that's why it held my attention throughout, and was entertaining. When you want something a little different, than My Martian Child will please.

Overall Grade: B+

Reviewed by Jonas

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