Reviewed by: Jennifer Constantine
|Featuring||John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Bobby Coleman, Amanda Peet, Sophie Okonedo, Oliver Platt, Richard Schiff, David Kaye, Suzy Joachim|
|Producer||Seth Bass, Mike Drake, Ed Elbert, Toby Emmerich, David Gerrold, Mark Kaufman, David Kirschner, Matt Moore, Luke Ryan, Corey Sienega, Jonathan Tolins|
|Distributor||New Line Cinema|
Based on a novel of the same title by David Gerrold
“The story of a man becoming a father… and a boy becoming a son.”
I loved “Martian Child.” Why? Because I came out of the theater with a deep sense of how much our Abba Father loves us.
“Martian Child” is not a perfect movie, but it does what it sets out to do: tell a beautiful story about what unconditional love really looks like.
In the beginning, we meet David Gordon (John Cusack), a misfit child who escapes into a fantasy world and emerges as an adult who has become a successful science fiction writer.
We immediately feel for David, as we learn he considers himself “The Creature” of his novels, and he is a widower of two years. All of this we learn in the first five minutes of intro, after which we arrive at the first plot point: David is contemplating adopting a child. It is a way of honoring his wife’s memory, as they had made such plans before she died, and it is a way to continue on with living, but thankfully David is not selfish enough to convince himself that these are good enough reasons by themselves. Someone else’s entire future cannot be taken that lightly.
He debates with the social worker: Can he really do this? It’s crazy, and there’s no guarantee that it’ll work out the way he thinks it will. In the end David is willing to take the risk.
It made me wonder if our Heavenly Father had such a conversation with himself before creating us: yes, it’s risky, but the potential pay-off makes it worth it.
When we first meet Dennis (the amazing Bobby Coleman), he spends his day inside of a box marked “Handle with Care.” It is the perfect metaphor for a boy whose internalization of the hurt he has experienced produces odd behavior stemming from his belief that he is from Mars. A man who writes science fiction seems like a perfect match for a boy who believes he IS science fiction.
The movie toys with us as Dennis shows uncanny abilities. Is he a child of untapped genius or is he maybe… just maybe a Martian Child after all? Is his ability to “taste” colors extrasensory, or an indication that he can calculate probability with lightning fast (but still human) accuracy?
There are a few things that I should caution viewers about: David takes the Lord’s name in vain 6 times, and the word “hell” is used once as a curse word. The most offensive moment comes when a child overhears David take the Lord’s name in vain and says something a long the lines of “Jesus is cool, but other religions have much to offer as well.” It’s meant to be a look-how-cute-kids-are when-they-are-being-grown-up moment, but it left a bad taste in my mouth that the writers would use a child to utter this denial of Jesus.
Besides that, there is David’s friend Harlee who has a Buddha statue in her yard, refers to Dennis as an “old soul,” and uses words like “zen.” There is a moment when David and Harlee are tempted to have a “sleepover” but decide to be responsible and only kiss briefly before she leaves.
Also objectionable is David’s sister Liz (Joan Cusack) who refers to her children as the “Omen 1 and 2.” God says children are a blessing.
I wouldn’t recommend this movie for young children, because they will be bored by all of the grown up issues explored in this movie.
As spiritual orphans, when we become adopted by our Heavenly Father, sometimes it takes a while to believe that we are really loved unconditionally. We are all Dennis in some way. Can we dare to hope that Someone really wants us in spite of our imperfections? Is it possible that this love is never-ending, despite how we mess up? I encourage the reader to take that journey with Dennis and discover the Truth.
Violence: None / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.