Media Maven: “Martian Child”

Media Maven: “Martian Child”

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Martian Child
John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Bobby Coleman, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Richard Schiff


“Martian Child” is a new film that tells the story of a science fiction writer who is recently widowed. John Cusack plays David, the grieving man who has met success in the literary world, found and lost his true love and now becomes retrospective when looking at his life.

David realizes he needs to move forward. He believes he still has much to contribute in his life and thinks what better way than to adopt a child? Perhaps this is the trouble with this movie. It’s simple. It’s trite. It candy coats the real issue of discarded, abused children in the real world.

As the story progresses, David takes a special interest in a boy who believes he is from Mars. The boy spends his waking hours in a cardboard box that has an opening as a lookout. The boy’s name is Dennis. He is antisocial. He is uncommunicative. He is afraid of being burned by sunlight. And voila! David sticks a tube of sun block and sunglasses into the box and off they go together to live a trial period in hopes for a permanent adoption.

Ahh, if life could be as simple as this movie. Yes, we see Dennis’ problems of fitting in at his new school. We see him scream when he gets his first hair cut. We see him take lots of pictures with a camera. We see David studying Dennis. We see David sharing his worries about parenting with his real life sibling (Joan Cusack) playing his know-it-all sister in this film.

All that is well and good. Yet it gives the film a made-for-TV movie feel. There is a scene where David and Dennis let loose and throw all of the plates crashing against the floor. It is meant to teach Dennis that no physical object is as valued as he is to David. But, uh oh — guess who is at the door coming for an unannounced visit? The adoption board member who looks around the kitchen disapprovingly and informs David that he is moving the review up sooner rather than later.

Oh NO! Do you think Dennis will be taken away and sent through the real foster care system that is incredibly understaffed and overworked and ill supervised? Or do you think Dennis and David will live happily ever after?

I won’t tell. You’ll have to go see the movie to find out. But my advice is wait for it to come out on DVD.

Rating: Two Chic Stars

Jan’s Movie Rating System:
5 – Top notch entertainment
4 – Compelling, Heartwarming, Thrilling, Comical
3 – The a) story b) actors c) special effects saved/made this movie.
2 – If you are bored watch it, or wait for DVD
1 – Don’t bother. Too morose, too violent, too blasé, an enigma.