What's the nature of being a parent and of being a child? David is a widower grieving for two years. He writes science fiction and was considered weird as a boy. He meets Dennis, a foster child who claims to be on a mission from Mars, stays in a large box all day, fears sunlight, and wears a belt of flashlight batteries so he won't float away. David takes the six-year-old home on a trial. His sister and his wife's best friend offer support, but the guys are basically alone to figure this out. Dennis takes things, is expelled, and is coached by David in being normal. Will the court approve the adoption, and will Dennis stay? Can a man become a father and a child become a son? Written by
David Gerrold, the author the book, adopted a son as an openly-gay man. In his novella, the sexuality of the protagonist is not disclosed, but in his novel, he is identified as gay. In the Hollywood movie version, the protagonist is straight (with a female love interest), causing some criticism from some members of the gay community nationwide. See more »
When David receives the letter from child services, the envelope not only has six digits in the zip code instead of five, the state is listed as "CS", which does not exist. However, an early scene includes a tight shot of the front license plate of David's car, which says at the top "COASTAL STATE" where a real license plate would say "OREGON" or whatever. The production designers invented a state, a postal abbreviation (CS), and a ZIP code; bravo for this attention to detail and imagination! See more »
[as Dennis enters house for the first time]
Just think of it as a bigger box...
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Martian Child: are we all strangers in a strange land?
What would be different about a child from the planet Mars than one born on Earth? No one knows, since for all practical reasons no one has ever meet a Martian Baby. David (John Cusack) a widowed science fiction writer, with writer's block decides to find out, by adopting an unwanted boy. The boy, Dennis, (Bobby Coleman) outwardly acts as if he is a child from our closest celestial neighbor, the planet Mars. David and Dennis appear well suited for each other because they are both living apart from society. David does so by living alone and writing science fiction novels up until the present time of his wife's death, now he is just alone. Dennis, avoids contact with everyone by taking on the guise of the child from Mars, an alien, a stranger, who acts differently than the norm, and therefore society avoids confrontation with what is unusual. This screenplay is adult in nature because it deals with issues that are unpleasant and upsetting. Taking on the responsibility of rearing an unwanted child, alone, having never actually been a parent, and never knowing if the love you give is going to be returned is a huge step! This is a film that will be appreciated by a very small audience. One must first be able to get past self indulgence and reach a certain level of maturity before one can consider taking on the total responsibility of another life form. Director Menno Meyies has created a very strong bond between David and Dennis in their scenes throughout his film. Unfortunately most of the people on this planet will never see their performances. Go out of your way, go alone if you must, but go see the Martian Child. If you are a parent it will remind you of raising your own children, if you are not yet a parent it will remind you of the childhood you had and the experience of raising your own Martian Child yet to come!
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