Growing up a Martian Child

Martian Child is a romantic drama starring John Cusack as a recently widowed science fiction writer named David who forms an unlikely family with a close friend (Amanda Peet) and a young boy (Bobby Coleman) whom he adopts and who claims to be from Mars.

After ignoring some sage parenting advice he receives from his sister (Joan Cusack), David gets much more than he bargained for when after a series of strange events he begins to believe that the child’s claim may be true.

Based on an award-winning short story by science fiction luminary David Gerrold, Martian Child is written by Seth E. Bass and Jonathan Tolins, directed by Menno Meyjes and produced by David Kirschner, Corey Sienega and Ed Elbert.

What I liked most about this quaint little film is that it touched on a part of human nature that we adults so often forget, that awkward feeling of trying in vain to fit in with other humans when we all know what an impossible feat that is. It poses the question: Isn’t every child from Mars, and looking at the world around them through alien eyes? And when I think about my youth (and many recent days as well), I believe this assertion to be true.

Ever since Better Off Dead came out in the '80s, I have loved almost everything John Cusack has ever done, and he did not disappoint me in Martian Child either. Quite the contrary: He made me adore him all over again in a fatherly role like I have never seen him play before.

Joan Cusack is her usual awkward self that I have always been fond of. Amanda Peet is sexy and offbeat, and Bobby Coleman was the perfect pick to play the little boy. He is brilliant, strange, and a very talented actor. And a cameo from Anjelica Huston was a delicious icing on the cake.

Not to sound cliche, but this film made me laugh out loud, reflect on my own life a bit, and I definitely had to wipe a tear or two off my cheek toward the end. In my opinion, that’s what makes for a good piece of cinema. I’m usually not too into sappy family films, but I’d recommend this one to my friends.

Martian Child opens Friday, Nov. 2, in Green Hills. Don’t miss it!

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