Thursday, 13 November 2014

Review: Foster (2011)

I happened to catch this on Sky one Saturday afternoon when I was looking for something to watch that required no effort whatsoever, and that is what I found.
Foster (known as Angel in the House in some places) is the story of a couple played by Toni Collete and Ioan Gruffud who in the wake of the loss of their child and their inability to conceive face serious marital problems.  In order to try to mend their marriage they take a visit to a foster home and the next day Eli arrives on their door step (played by Maurice Cole), Eli is quite clearly wise beyond his years and becomes the bridge between Zooey and Alec and the key to mending their troubled marriage.
This all sound terribly boring but its not, it a beautiful story of hope and love and loss that is played out really well by Collette and Gruffud.  The heartbreak that is demonstrated throughout the film feels real and left me with goosebumps.  The story plays out as Zooey and Alec learn to deal with not only having a child in their lives again but a child that is significantly smarter than they are. 
Collette is a dream to watch as always (I have loved her since my first viewing of Muriels Wedding when I was 10yrs old) and she brings a real warmth to the character, starting from a depressed woman dealing with the loss of her child, to a confused mother figure to a child she doesn't know, to a loving Mom.  Gruffud's, Alec can't seem to find his place, his business is failing, his marriage is failing but you never blame him, you just want him to succeed. Even when the couple are arguing you are fighting for both corners because you like both characters.  It was odd for me, as a cynical man-hater (no offence to any male readers out there) I usually automatically side with the female character but this story gave me food for thought.
I wasn't even put off by Richard E Grant, who I usually despise in pretty much everything he has been in, he actually brought some much needed comedy to the table as homeless Mr Potts.  The winner for me though had to be Maurice Cole who played the extremely articulate 7 year old Eli, he was fantastic and I just fell in love with him the second he came on screen.  He was perfect for the role, I don't think I could name a child actor who could have done it better.
Overall, this is a lovely story with a lot of warmth.  Great to watch in the cold months with a big blanket and a cup of hot chocolate :-)

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