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Movie Review

Ellen Foster

Reviewed by: Lisa Sutter

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teen to Adult
1 hr. 34 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 14, 1997
Cover graphic for “Ellen Foster”
Featuring: Julie Harris, Jena Malone, Ted Levine, Glynnis O’Connor, Debra Monk
Director: John Erman
Producer: _____
Distributor: Hallmark Productions

“Ellen Foster” is the story of Ellen Hammond. A young girl who is forced to grow up way too fast. She lives with her alcoholic, abusive father (played by Levine) and her sickly, but loving mother.

Ellen watchs her mother die and her father is put in prison. One of Ellen’s teachers, Mrs Hobbs, has compassion on Ellen and takes her home. Mr and Mrs Hobbs provide a loving, happy home for Ellen.

The courts however, feel the best place for Ellen is with family. So the judge awards custody to Ellen’s grandmother. Her grandmother has always had a strong dislike for Ellen. She is cruel and unfeeling. Ellen is forced to become a servant in her grandmother’s house and is shown no love or compassion by her grandmother.

The story does have a happy ending.

This movie is very positive from a Christian perspective. It contains no sex or profanity. There is some violence, but it is not glamourized. The story is touching and beatiful.

The acting is very well done and is believable.

One word of caution. This movie is not for young children. Ellen witnesses the death of both her mother and grandmother. These scenes and a couple of others would not be suitable for young children. However, for teens and adults, this movie provides a great springboard for meaningful discussion. The good far outweighs the bad.

This movie is part of the Hallmark Hall of Fame collection. This collection is known for its touching, family friendly movies. “Ellen Foster” is no exception. This is a must-see movie, one you won’t soon forget.

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