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Martian Child (2007)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Family  -  2 November 2007 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 16,005 users   Metascore: 48/100
Reviews: 69 user | 118 critic | 26 from Metacritic.com

A science-fiction writer, recently widowed, considers whether to adopt a hyper-imaginative 6-year-old abandoned and socially rejected boy who says he's really from Mars.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Martian Child (2007)

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A contemporary story of love, rejection and triumph as a young Maori girl fights to fulfill a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize.

Director: Niki Caro
Stars: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Liz
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Bud ...
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Taya Calicetto ...
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Braxton Bonneville ...
Samuel Charles ...
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Ryan Morrissette ...
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of a man becoming a father...and a boy becoming a son. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Family

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements and mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 November 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un niño de otro mundo  »

Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,843,767 (USA) (2 November 2007)

Gross:

$7,486,906 (USA) (7 December 2007)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name of Joan Cusack's character (Liz) is the same one as of her character in High Fidelity (2000), which also features her brother John Cusack in the lead role. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Dennis: [after doing the Martian dance] Nice talk.
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Connections

References Amadeus (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Baby Attacks
From All About the Benjamins (2002)
Written by John Murphy
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User Reviews

 
Required Viewing for Offbeat Parents of Kids with Emotional or Developmental Issues
31 January 2008 | by (Whitehall, PA) – See all my reviews

Humor and heart blend well in MARTIAN CHILD (MaCh), adapted by Seth Bass and Jonathan Tolins from science fiction writer David Gerrold's real-life story (except that gay David Gerrold is portrayed here as straight widower David Gordon) of adopting a little boy who'd been mistreated and abandoned so many times, he'd come to believe he was from Mars. As funny and winsome as it is poignant, MaCh is one of the few films about an unconventional family life that doesn't pile on eccentricity for eccentricity's own sake, showing that it's possible to build a happy life and learn to love others despite the personal flaws and developmental/emotional issues of everyone involved. I loved the rapport and chemistry between David and his adopted son Dennis, portrayed endearingly by the ever-appealing John Cusack (reuniting with his MAX director Menno Meyjes) and young Bobby Coleman. It made me think of the scene in GROSSE POINTE BLANK with Cusack's Martin Blank holding a baby, looking at it with this delightful mixture of puzzlement and wonder. (Could that baby have grown up to be Dennis? :-)). The life of a science fiction writer gets some good-natured ribbing, too, in scenes where David has to deal with his agent (Oliver Platt, reuniting with Cusack after his scene-stealing turn in THE ICE HARVEST. Now that Cusack's longtime bud and co-star Jeremy Piven has a steady gig with TV's ENTOURAGE, has Platt become Cusack's new Piven? :-)) and his publisher (I won't spoil the wonderful cameo). Joan Cusack also turns up to provide able support for her bro as David's married sister, full of harried yet sage advice: "The thing about kids is, they keep coming at you." In fact, her family scenes often cracked me up, like her admonishment to her rambunctious boys (or as she affectionately calls them, "Omen One and Omen Two"): "Get off that dog! He's 200 years old in human years. Would you do that to Grandma?" I loved her husband's attitude: "Hey, all kids are from Mars. At least your kid admits it." Although MaCh takes time to have fun even when things get serious (loved David and Dennis's Martian walk/dance to the Guster song "Satellite") and is generally upbeat, with quite a bit of gentle humor, it doesn't shy away from showing the difficulties of adopting an emotionally scarred child, with the frustration and sadness inherent in such a situation. Having adopted our niece after my mother-in-law died, I can tell you from personal experience that picking up in the middle of raising somebody else's child is a challenge even in the best of circumstances, and MaCh captures this aspect well. It also shows that parents, especially those of us raising kids with special needs, often walk a fine line between accommodating a kid's genuine needs and being overly if well-meaningly indulgent. We've adapted David's advice to Dennis for our own child, who was diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome: "When you're at home, it's okay to be from Mars. But when you're out in the world, you have to follow Earth rules." Perhaps you have to have experience in these kind of family situations to best appreciate MaCh (I've noticed that real-life parents tend to appreciate it more than, say, professional film critics :-)). MARTIAN CHILD should be required viewing for unconventional parents of children with emotional or developmental issues and other serious problems. By the way, when I saw MaCh in our local multiplex, there were a number of parents seeing the film with kids (not tiny tykes, but elementary school age and older), and they all seemed to enjoy it, too.


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