I think this is a great movie. The film was very realistic & believable, nothing was sensationalized, and nothing was miraculously 'fixed'. The characters were real (flawed but mostly likable & loving) people throughout the film. Because I found the film and the characters so raw, normal and believable I really liked this film. The film is about an irresponsible but loving mother (Fran) who grew up in foster care and would hate the same thing to happen to her own children. Fran's eldest daughter is sexually abused by Fran's boyfriend, and despite Fran's desperate & angry protests, she does end up in foster care. The characters in the film and the daily-life events and interactions in the film all seemed very realistic to me & I felt like each character could be a real person, particularly the eldest daughter.
FULL PLOT: Fran is a woman who grew up being passed in and out of different foster homes. At her longest-term foster home her foster father attempted to sexually abuse her, and clearly did not love her. Fran grows into a needy adult who is searching for love and acceptance. She has low self-esteem and doesn't really believe in her own strength/power to sort out her life and to be a good mother.
The film starts with Fran's abusive husband leaving her. Fran is a very loving mother to her three children, yet she also acts very irresponsibly and selfishly, abandoning them when she gets a new boyfriend. Her next door neighbor is her best friend (both woman have come from abusive relationships) and this neighbor supports Fran, offers her wise advice, and looks after Fran's children when Fran forgets about them for days on end.
Fran's new boyfriend begins to sexually abuse the shy, sweet & initially trusting eldest daughter (who is about 12 years old). Fran and her boyfriend go away on a holiday (that gets longer and longer), leaving the children behind. When Fran comes back her children have been taken in by Social Welfare. Fran doesn't understand why, and is extremely upset because she loves her children and doesn't want them to have the same childhood that she had, being passed between various foster homes. The social welfare worker tells Fran that her daughter has disclosed the sexual abuse committed by Fran's boyfriend. At first Fran doesn't believe her daughter, and pressures her daughter to take it all back. Eventually Fran has to face the truth. Her boyfriend ends the relationship with Fran. The film finishes with Fran coming to collect her 2 youngest children, and saying goodbye to her eldest daughter. The final scene is the eldest daughter staring silently at her face in the mirror after her family have left the room (clearly she will be placed in foster care at least for the immediate future).
At the end of the film the viewer is left wondering what will become of the eldest daughter. Will she end up with a life similar to her mothers? How will she cope with the abuse, with ending up in a foster home, and with feeling abandoned by her mother? I left the film with a mix of frustration at, and understanding of, the mother. However irresponsible and immature she was, she still clearly loved her children and wanted to protect them from the tough childhood that she had had. I left the film with a lot of concern and empathy for the eldest daughter, and hope that she would be okay.
There are few films that I have seen that focus on the impact of difficult situations on children (ie. children are caught in the middle of a domestic violence relationship). Parents (and other adults) actions significantly affect children. I appreciate this film for making the children very visible and for keeping the camera on the children during their mother's erratic behavior, and the molestation. There are also very few films that deal with child sexual abuse. This film does so, very realistically, and very sensitively - and helps us to really understand what it would be like for the child, and why the child might not react much/fight against the adult (abuser) who they trust(ed). I would like to see more films like this. I would also like to see this film come out on DVD. The closest film I have seen to this one is 'This Boys Life' starring Leonardo Dicaprio (an excellent film, where DiCaprio plays the teenage son of a mother who marries a man who becomes very violent and abusive towards DiCaprio).
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A single mother, Fran (Noni Hazlehurst) is selflessly devoted to her children. But something is lacking in her life, and that something is the love of a man her own age. Her efforts to juggle a love life with her home life are largely unsuccessful.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
August 02, 2022 at 02:19 PM