Adopted/Foster Familes


I don’t have much to contribute for Thursday Movie Picks this week and- in two out of my three picks- adopted/foster familes are mostly incidental to the movies as a whole.


The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)– This is really the story of one big unhappy family where only one of the kids (Gwyneth Paltrow) is adopted. According to narrator Alec Baldwin, “Royal always noted this when introducing her (‘This is our adopted daughter Margot’)”. The family dynamics get even more complicated when Margot and her adopted brother Richie (Luke Wilson) fall in love, which is either illegal or just frowned upon. Possibly his most ambitious film to date, this is still my favourite Wes Anderson movie and he and co-writer Owen Wilson manage all the chaos like the pros that they are.

moonrise kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)– I felt so guilty that I couldn’t find room for The Darjeeling Limited when we did Trains a couple of weeks ago that I opened up two slots for him this week. Ranking a close second to Tenenbaums in the Wes Canon, Moonrise Kingdom tells the story of a troubled young Khaki scout (Jared Gilman) who causes so much trouble with his foster family that they “can’t invite him back”. On the run from his troop and the dreaded Social Services (Tilda Swinton), our hero bonds with a sad dumb policeman (Bruce Willis) who is willing to adopt him so that he can be with his true love (Kara Hayward).


Philomena (2013)– Not written by Wes Anderson, this adoption story doesn’t end happily. Director Stephen Frears and writers Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope do a brilliant job with the true story of Philomena Lee and her journey to reunite with the son that she was forced to put up for adoption by the Catholic Church 50 years ago. It’s a sad story but Frears, Coogan, and Pope give it a light touch, focusing on the chemistry between Lee (Judi Dench) and journalist Martin Sixsmith (Coogan)It’s less of an angry story about unquestionable injustice and more about one woman’s faith and resilience.


21 thoughts on “Adopted/Foster Familes

  1. joelnox

    I really liked Philomena much more than I expected when I started, I had heard that Judi Dench was great but the movie as a whole wasn’t much, I found it quite engrossing though. I liked but didn’t love Moonrise Kingdom, it does have its charms. I can’t stand the Wilson brothers and I often find Paltrow noxious so I’ve given Tenenbaums the skip however it’s thought so highly of I may break down someday and watch.

    My main three are a mix of comedy and drama but my extra doesn’t know what it wants to be and ends up a mess…I included it as a warning should you ever stumble upon it as I did.

    Loggerheads (2005)-Three separate vignettes look at an adoption story from different angles. Feeling unsure and unsettled Grace (Bonnie Hunt) returns home to visit her mother and search for the child she gave up for adoption years before. Young drifter Mark (Kip Pardue) begins a relationship with a handyman while trying to help endangered loggerhead turtles survive. Elizabeth (Tess Harper) struggles with defying her pious minister husband to seek out her estranged adopted son. On a Mother’s Day weekend in North Carolina their three stories converge.

    Baby Boom (1987)-Hard driving executive J.C. Wyatt, not affectionately called The Tiger Lady, is on the cusp of being made a partner in her advertising firm when she is named guardian for a baby when a distant relative and his wife are killed in an accident. Unexpectedly taking to the little girl she decides to adopt and raise her which throws her life into tumult and takes her in a direction she never expected. Charming comedy is a perfect fit for Diane Keaton.

    Room for One More (1952)-Cary Grant and Betsy Blair, married in real life when this was made, play a couple with three children who also have been foster parents to many over the years. They take two deeply troubled children into their home who prove to be almost more than they can handle. The film follows the difficult adjustments they all face when they decide to adopt rather than foster them.

    Dishonorable Mention: Happy Mother’s Day, Love George aka Run Stranger Run (1973)-What starts out as a quiet drama about a young man, adopted at four days old, returning to the Nova Scotia coast of his birth to search for his roots takes an extreme wrong turn about 3/4 of the way through and becomes a slasher flick for no discernible reason. Up until then it’s not a bad little film, with a very strong performance by Cloris Leachman, in a terrible black wig, as a sad, beaten down woman but that severe shift in tone scuttles the movie completely. How this ever attracted a cast of such quality, aside from Cloris there are two other Oscar winners-Patricia Neal-chewing scenery like crazy, and a brunette Ron Howard as well as Bobby Darin in his last role (as a fry cook!) is a mystery. There are some beautiful shots of the Nova Scotia area but this is a strange mishmash of a movie.


    1. Matt Post author

      Thanks for the recommendations! I haven’t seen any of those. As for Tenenbaums, nobody does their own schtick in a Wes Anderson film so you don’t usually have to worry about not liking the actors.


    1. Matt Post author

      Thanks, Allie! I highly recommend Moonrise Kingdom but don’t worry about not seeing it in time for this week’s theme. I was really stretching it with this one.


  2. Brittani

    Nice picks! I especially love Moonrise Kingdom, that’s my favorite Wes Anderson movie. I really need to give The Royal Tenenbaums another try. I hated it when I first saw it, but that was before I developed better taste. lol Maybe I’ll like it better now.


  3. Paskalis Damar AK

    So many nods to Wes Anderson, but I love those movies, especially the quirky Moonrise Kingdom.
    People always saya Philomena is good but till now I haven’t even seen any second of it. Not even the trailer. Gotta check that out soon.


    1. Matt Post author

      Moonrise Kingdom is just amazing. It’s so sad and funny- how you have this beautiful love story between two ten year olds contrasted with sad depressing adult relationships. I think you’ll really like The Royal Tenenbaums if you liked this.


  4. Birgit

    Yippee! I have seen all 3:) I think I actually like The Royal Tenenbaums more than Moonrise Kingdom but both are great as is Philomena which I actually didn’t expect her son to be dead. (sorry Spolier). Love your picks


  5. Pingback: Movie Inspired Halloween Costumes | Assholes Watching Movies

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