Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Adoption-Themed Movie: Like Dandelion Dust

Like Dandelion Dust hit theaters yesterday, though it's been around the film festival circuit for about a year now.  Has anyone seen it?  I'd have to say the reviews have been "mixed." USA Today touts it as "the next Blind Side."  The New York Times praised the acting but called the movie formulaic, with this vaguely snooty concluding line: "The only wrinkle this tale has to offer is a concluding sequence set in Haiti, which feels vaguely exploitive. But for those who like this genre of film, this one executes the formula very well."

The movie is based on this book by Karen Kingsbury, a Christian writer.  Conventional wisdom would say not to expect the New York Times to give rave reviews to a Christian-themed movie.  But the Baptist Press review was also mixed:
So-called nightmare adoption scenarios are rare in the real world, but one is set to play out on the big screen Sept. 24 when "Like Dandelion Dust," based on a Karen Kingsbury best-selling novel, releases nationally.

The movie has a gripping storyline that many viewers will find compelling: a couple adopts a boy at birth, only to discover six years later that the birth parents are trying to get him back. The legal twist? The birth father, who was in jail that whole time and didn't even know he had a son until he was released, learns that his signature consenting to the adoption was forged. Because it was forged, the adoptive parents have no legal rights to the child. And, for the rest of the movie, the two couples fight for the 6-year-old boy, who, amazingly, didn't even know he was adopted.

As an adoptive parent of a 2-year-old boy, I love movies about adoption. "Bella" still ranks among my all-time favorites. Like Dandelion Dust, though, is a different matter.
The reviewer notes, "Watching it before you adopt is tantamount to watching "United 93" before you fly."  It's clear that his real concern about the movie is that it might deter some from adopting.  He even opines that the movie would be liked by adult adoptees who will be gratified to see that their birth parents and their adoptive parents love them and are willing to fight over them.  Hmmmm, somehow I'm thinking, not so much!

I'm pleased, though, that he mentions the inadvisability of NOT telling your child he's adopted, like the adoptive parents in this story did.  (What can I say, this blog isn't called Adoption Talk for nothin'!):
The general public likely also will overlook a storyline that was even more unbelievable: The boy was clueless as to his background.

Adoption agencies encourage adoptive couples to be honest with their children, telling them about their origins from the moment they learn to talk. It's the right thing to do and it avoids having to schedule "the talk" when they're older.
Right on!

I don't think I'll be seeing this movie, because I quite agree with the reviewer from Baptist Press on this point:  "It's not enjoyable in real life to watch couples battle over a child, and it's no more fun on the big screen."  Just not my cup of tea.

If you've seen it, let us know your thoughts!


Anonymous said...

Like Dandelion Dust is one of the best films I've ever seen. It's compelling, filled with authentic characters that are simply broken people, striving to become better human beings. After watching this movie and digesting it, I now have a better appreciation for the sacrifical love given to me by my Heavenly Father when he sacrified his only son for me. This is a MUST SEE movie for many reasons.

Anonymous said...

My husband took me to see Like Dandelion Dust tonight. After seeing the trailer a couple months ago I have been counting down the days until it opened in theaters. I have to say, they didn't let me down. I absolutely loved it! I have read the book and there were a few things changed in the movie but I don't think they took anything away from it. (Unlike some movies based on books that I've seen in the past.) The actors were great! The story flowed really well and I don't recall any slow moments that made me bored. I would say though the biggest testament of all would be my husband's reaction to it. He only went because he knew I wanted to go so much and he came away saying he really enjoyed it. We talked about how good it was all the way home (1hr drive). It definitely tears at your heartstrings so don't forget your tissues! Great job to all involved in the making of this movie! I want to see more!

Anonymous said...

Like Dandelion Dust faces issues honestly and head-on, mainly that we are all human and have issues in our lives. Often we like to ignore reality. As an adoptive mom, I know it's important to face the risks and be prepared. Until we are ready to face our fears and have love overcome those, we aren't ready to make these tough choices. I think we are missing the bigger picture in this movie. Like Dandelion Dust deals with emotions over several issues besides adoption that begin to heal when faced and dealt with. A mother told me yesterday she watched it with her biological son she had placed for adoption 19 years before and had just met last year. They both sat and cried and let it be a healing time. The sacrificial love of the mother, the efforts of both sets of parents to do what was right, the battles between right and wrong are played out so strongly. This movie is exceptional in its story line and professional acting. The depth of emotion drawn out by the viewer is rare. This is a MUST-SEE film.

malinda said...

LOL! Anyone else feel like we've been hit by a viral marketing campaign?!!!

Bukimom said...

I haven't seen it yet, but I read the book last year and am a huge fan of Karen Kingsbury. After reading the reviews here, I'm more anxious than ever to see this film.

Brigdh said...

Have you seen "Losing Isiah"? It's a movie about a black baby boy found in a dumpster, adopted by a white couple. When the boy is a small child, the mother tracks him down and contests for her rights, since obviously she never gave him away for adoption. I saw it years ago, in a high school class, but I remember it being fairly good, addressing lots of issues about race and adoption. It sounds similar to this new one.

Anonymous said...

I am an adoptive mom and I just watched this movie. I actually did not appreciate it!! I love adoption and orphan care and I am concerned that although this movie is about adoption, I can't see how it could be a "pro-adoption" movie in terms of encouraging others to adopt! I think it would instill unrealistic fear into protential adoptive parents who would be afraid that this tug-of-war would happen to them. Yes, it does talk about sacrificial love, and that was touching, but I am looking at it in terms of advancing the cause of adoption, and I just don't get that from this movie!