7.3/10
83
5 user 1 critic

To Find My Son (1980)

Not Rated | | Drama | TV Movie 6 October 1980
A young man wishes to adopt a problematical eight-year-old boy being kept in an institution. Simply because he is single, he has an uphill battle with the government bureaucracy and ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
David Benjamin
...
Julie
...
Connie Marx
...
Arthur Gwen
...
Mrs. Braggs
Justin Dana ...
Tommy
Arthur Rosenberg ...
Fred Willis
...
Manny Garcia (as Ronald Joseph)
Royce Wallace ...
Nancy Grady
Gene D. Jackson ...
Bobby Johnson
Melva Blancett ...
Mrs. Ryan
...
Mrs. Benjamin
Warner McKay ...
Mr. Benjamin
Charles Benton ...
Dr. Holder
Mary Mizell ...
Ida
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Storyline

A young man wishes to adopt a problematical eight-year-old boy being kept in an institution. Simply because he is single, he has an uphill battle with the government bureaucracy and particularly with a power-hungry, administrator. After many delays, they deny his application. Then he finds a way to turn the tables on them for the boy's own good. Written by Paul Emmons <pemmons@wcupa.edu>

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Drama

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Not Rated
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6 October 1980 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
A simply made and effective drama.
23 August 2014 | by See all my reviews

I caught this recently on the Sony Movie Channel. It was one of those made-for-TV true stories about a single man's struggle to adopt a boy, and I probably wouldn't have watched it were it not that Richard Thomas was the star.

Upon watching it I was pleasantly surprised that it managed to keep just the right side of sentimentality, which was rare for TV movies with kids in them at the time. Usually such outings feel patronisingly emotional, with far too much over-score implying you should feel something poignant at various points in the film - but actually they only manage to make you feel like vomiting.

It tells the story of David Benjamin who volunteered at an adoption centre and befriended a young boy who had a speech impediment. When he asks if he could possibly foster the child, he is told that he would have more chance adopting him outright.

What should be a simple task becomes a battle against bureaucracy. First they say they want the boy and all his siblings kept together, but what they later discover is that the real reason they don't want him to adopt is because he is a single man. A single man not particularly liked by those people making the decision who have little if any contact with the boy they are responsible for.

Although this point isn't made explicitly in the film, probably down to the time of day it was broadcast and television's reticence at the time to address this subject, one gets the sense that their real reason for disliking him is a suspicion he may be a predatory child molester - hence they tend to ask him if he is gay. This archaic notion that gay people are more likely to be child molesters is an idea that still exists in many quarters today. Reality check people, paedophiles are paedophiles, they're not straight or gay, and tend to target the gender most available to them.

Anyway, this film is a pleasantly and simply made drama. Richard Thomas here is the real star, brilliantly displaying the range of his character's emotions through this legal minefield, supported by an excellent little actor who plays the boy in many scenes. The emotional connection between them feels real, not forced, and it is difficult not to shed the odd tear. One can easily understand the main character's frustrations, making you root for him all the way.

So, if you have 90 minutes to kill, give it a shot. While not a film that will win any awards for Production Design or Cinematography, the technical aspects you hardly notice as you watch it, you're more concerned with the characters and their plight which is how it should be.


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