Friday, March 31, 2017
THE GREAT GILLY HOPKINS (2015)
Directed By: Stephen Herek
Written By: David Paterson
Based on the Book By: Katherine Paterson
Cinematography By: David M. Dunlap
Editor: David Leonard
Cast: Sophie Nelisse, Kathy Bates, Octavia Spencer, Bill Cobbs, Julia Stiles, Glenn Close, Billy Magnussen, Zachary Hernandez
A feisty foster kid's outrageous scheme to be reunited with her birth mother has unintended consequences in The Great Gilly Hopkins, an entertaining film for the entire family. Gilly Hopkins has seen more than her share of foster homes and has outwitted every family she has lived with. In an effort to escape her new foster mother Maime Trotter's endless loving care, Gilly concocts a plan that she believes will bring her mother running to her rescue. But when the ploy blows up in Gilly's face it threatens to ruin the only chance she's ever had to be part of a real family.
If you are a fan of family films or have kids this is a film you will enjoy. As it's not preachy and seems to teach a few life lessons for kids naturally without hitting the audience over the head
The film offers a sweetness and sentiment that isn't necessarily offered in too many films today . When it does usually in other films it feels manipulative here it feels natural.
Which this movie manages to do which is charm. You usually only see tights quality in Christian themed movies these days. That even if you don't necessarily agree with the religion there is something classic about the quality. The stories like within this film are familiar but they keep you interested because of the characters and strength of the scenes.
Sophie Nelisse has the right amount of rebelliousness and sweetness to believe her characters emotional changes as she learns the lessons of life that change her outlook and to a degree help to mold her from the stiff cold character she is at the start of the film.
The film offers all that you would expect of a film of this kind. It offers no Real surprises but does leave you with a smile on your face. Not as much comedic as it is dramatic with some laughs once in awhile. The few surprises it offers aren’t so much shocking as much as they are twisted to offer the same kind of result but in a different way.
The film even offers what could have been a gross negligence when it comes to playing racial politics and sensitivity. It walks a fine line but handles it with class and puts out the fires before they can start. As well as providing a diverse cast. Leaving it as no big deal.
The film has a surprisingly well known cast in supporting roles that will help attract audiences and keep their interests as the actors are such old pros they can play these roles in their sleep.
What also makes this film of interest is that it was directed by film veteran Stephen Herek a journey man director who has directed well known blockbusters such as BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE, 101 DALMATIONS (live action version) and MR. HOLLANDS OPUS, THE THREE MUSKATEERS, THE MIGHTY DUCKS, and DON’T TELL MOM THE BABYSITTER’S DEAD as well as films that bombed such as MAN OF THE HOUSE starring Tommy Lee Jones. So when it comes to material he is more a family or teen comedy person. Almost Disney movie personified.
This seems to be pinnacle of his career and a celebration. As this film is more small scaled but also has a sweetness to it. That feels natural, emotional and entertaining. Which might also be able to explain how he got such a cast some of whom he has worked with before.
Should have figured it would be based on a young adult novel as the story does feel full and offers lessons of life and behavior. that offers situations both familiar and different enough to feel original but also familiar for some in the audience The film is never hard hitting but is tear jerking and pull on the heartstrings.