Went to see a movie yesterday. Martian Child with John Cusack and Joan Cusack.
What a heart-lifting story, so well acted. And what I had not known, it was based on a true story, although they fictionalized the characters rather than use their real-life names.
A very young and gifted child actor, Bobby Coleman, plays the Martian Child. John Cusack plays the Sci-fi writer, widowed several years earlier, who decides he should carry through with his wife’s dream of adopting a child (she had been adopted, therefore had wanted to give some other child an opportunity in life). Joan Cusack plays John’s sister (they do that VERY well, and I’m sure being siblings is the foundation of that chemistry).
Adopting any child, especially one that is older (as in not an infant/baby, toddler), they come with their own history, their own baggage. In this case, the child had been abused, had been through several adopted situations and foster-care situations. So he had developed a survival mechanism of believing he was a Martian “on assignment” to learn earthlings’ ways. And then he believed “they” (those who left him here on earth as his assignment), would return to pick him up and take him home.
The story begins letting us see that John Cusack’s character, David, had been an “odd-ball” child in school as well. He had found coping mechanisms of his own, which eventually brought him to his present livelihood, sci-fi writer. He, therefore, had ready empathy as he watched this young boy being segregated from his classmates, and the target of class bullies. He also had a ready and creative attitude in dealing with this child’s “Martian” behaviors--basically accepting them, and showing an interest in learning them himself. David’s attitude of acceptance provides a means for communication into this boy’s fantasy world. He even finds a way to help Dennis (the Martian child’s name), vent his frustrations and rage against this often-times hostile world he feels he’s been abandoned in.
I really don’t want to give away the story. It is revealed so very carefully through the movie, each scene building on the next as this man and boy learn to relate, learn to trust, and come to love one another. My goal is to introduce this movie to you. I’d heard very little about it, except I had been in the theater when they showed its trailer a couple of weeks earlier. But I don’t want you to miss out. It is a remarkable story, and remarkable actors reproducing it for us.
I know if you go, you’ll be rewarded for it. Take some Puffs, but know the tears will be ones of joy and triumph in the end.