The Screening Room is holding a free screening next Friday, April 4 at 5:00 pm of Helen Hunt’s directorial debut Then She Found Me. It’s a remarkable film and a little unexpected coming from Hunt who made a career out of playing the ultimate shiksa in the 90s television series Mad About You opposite professional nebbish Paul Reiser. This isn’t one of those charming, indie, New York-based films where everyone in it is a coded Jew (neurotic, urban, mommy-issues). No, the characters, adapted from the Elinor Lipman book of the same name, have real Jewish identities, celebrate Shabbat, even (gasp!) pray and believe in G-d. The main character’s Judaism is a central aspect of her character and not just fodder for comic moments. That said, these are complete characters, so they’re not entirely defined by their Judaism–just like most of the people I know who have a religious life of any denomination. It is an interesting choice, and one wonders if those years of hanging around Reiser (and in a long-term relationship with Hank Azaria) had a lasting impact on her that attracted her to this story and to the character of April Epner. She also managed to assemble an amazing cast including Colin Firth, Bette Midler and Matthew Broderick, as well as an unexpected cameo by Salman Rushdie.
The other intriguing thing about the film is how well it handles the emotions and experiences of infertility and adoption which are as large a presence in the film as April’s Jewishness. My wife and I went through infertility and are frustrated when so often popular entertainment gets the whole thing wrong–either by focusing on septuplets as the obvious result of fertility treatments or by making adoption seem like an easy way out. (I’m pointing the finger at you Friends– we know you knew better Courtney Cox Arquette!) The reality is of course, far more complex and Then She Found Me deals with both topics–adoption and infertility–with extraordinary veracity to the conflicted emotions and hard decisions involved in both.
It is a free screening, but a reservation is required and the slots are going fast. Click here to get yours. It opens in theaters May 2nd in DC. The trailer from the film is below: