Martian Child was released nearly a decade ago, but I missed it. Honestly, even if I’d seen the movie, I would need to watch it again. I see foster care differently now that I know it. And more importantly, I see foster kids differently now that I know and love many.
The premise is simple: a widower (John Cusack) considers adopting a child abandoned to foster care. And yet nothing about that can be simple.
In short, the film is beautiful. I found myself grabbing a pencil and jotting down quotes.
Nodding along as Cusack challenged his sister, “I want to do something meaningful. And I get all the arguments. I even get the one that says I don’t want to bring another kid into this world. But how do you argue with the logic of loving one that’s already here?”
Tearing up as the psychiatrist acknowledged that the boy “probably thinks he’s going to float away because he’s very smart and he sees that he’s living in a world where things and people do disappear.”
Aching as the line “why can’t you just be what we all want you to be?” becomes a clear theme. A pain point for both Cusack and this precious, socially rejected boy.
Throughout, I was grateful for the glimpses of reality, the ups and the downs. Admittedly many, and probably most, true foster care stories are much more glum. But there isn’t so much sugar-coating here that it feels like a poor picture.
It might be a hopeful one. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing.