Helen Hunt’s feature directorial debut is an initially bland film that soon turns into a warm, intelligent and surprisingly romantic drama. The beginning is fairly bleak, perhaps a little too much. Barely any time has passed since the wedding when Ben (Matthew Broderick) tells April (Hunt) that he’s made a mistake and wants to break up. This is obviously traumatic, but even more worrying for a woman who has wanted desperately to conceive a child.
The trailer made this film look like a happy-go-lucky romantic comedy, and it does have its funny moments. More impressive, however, are the three-dimensional characters that actually have believable merits and flaws, something distinctly lacking in the lazier romcoms out there. For the first time in my cinema watching career, I really, really enjoyed Colin Firth’s performance. I know he’s been a heartthrob for many ever since walking out of the water all wet, but I’ve never really found him to be anything but dull. As the new man in April’s life, Frank is charismatic, but so much more. He knows how to be charming, but is also insecure and paranoid and filled with self-loathing. I’d expect the main character in a romcom to be three dimensional, but it’s rare to see the supporting characters presented as more than mere templates. Everyone is perfectly cast in this film, particularly Bette Midler as April’s blood mother. She’s monumentally flawed, but at the same time manages to be caring and strong, and sticks up for what she believes.
Significantly, Hunt seems to have managed to both direct and star to a degree of success. Her performance is subtle when she could have been over-the-top, and though it takes a while to get used to, it works in the long run.
Then She Found Me is a really touching film with a great script and fine performances. There is one particular event that feels less than likely, and whilst Broderick does a great job, Ben doesn’t seem to have as much depth as the others. Then again, this may be a backlash against the ‘immature men make good romantic leads’ trend at the moment, which isn’t such a bad thing.Rating: