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People Like Us: A Film About a Previously Unknown Family Member

In: Uncategorized

30 Jun 2012

The following is a review of a movie which I recently previewed on my film blog titled FilmRap.com . The subject should be of interest to mental health clinicians who frequently see people in therapy who have had some experience with a secret family.

People Like Us-sp We know of several instances, from personal life as well as from our professional work, of friends and relatives encountering siblings who they never knew previously existed. Each story is different but the impact on the people involved is usually quite powerful. No matter what age this revelation occurs it has the potential to shatter one’s concept of your parents, rework your ideas of honesty and truth as well as leading to a reexamination of your own identity. The writing team of Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jody Lambert each had some personal experience or first hand knowledge of such events which they were able to draw upon to put together this remarkable story. They weaved the details of the story line of each character together with the emotional reveal in a manner, which riveted the attention of the viewer throughout the whole process. Although most of the characters were quite likeable and the story was sprinkled with some heart warming comedy, we were still witnessing a tragic story which appeared to be doubling down on the bad luck that each character was experiencing. Sam (Chris Pine) and Frankie (Elizabeth Banks) are the family members who once they confront each other have to relive and deal with the meaning of their unhappy childhood. Michelle Pfeiffer has the role of Lilian, Sam’s mother who is hardened, bitter and looks it which in itself is a great accomplishment for this very fine and beautiful actress. Michael Hall D’Addanio is Josh, Frankie’s 11-year son in a performance which may very well be remembered after he establishes himself as an adult star. Josh’s recently deceased grandfather Gerald Harper was a music and record producer who has created all the misery on the screen as he has fathered both Sam and Frankie while neither knew of each other’s existence. Throughout most of the 115 minutes of this movie, it seemed almost impossible to imagine how any type of satisfying ending was remotely possible. Much of the success for the resolution of the story and execution of the movie should go to Alex Kurtzman who not only co-wrote the story but also directed it. In the end not only are the characters all in a better place with a new prospective on life, but the audience has the chance to reconsider our own relationships with parents and children because the movie we have just seen in one way or another is about “ people like us.” (2012)

In a subsequent blog I will present some real life case examples of the phenomena presented in this movie. I invite anyone with any case examples to feel free to bring them up here for discussion.

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