Genre – Family-Comedy-Drama-Emotional
Director – Sean Anders
Duration – 118 minutes
Cast – Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Isabela Merced, Gustavo Escobar, Julianna Gamiz
Watch it on – Netflix
In these gloomy and tough times, one feels rather scared to switch on the TV or even login to social media, for the media is flooded with stories of pain, loss and grief. Having lost my brother few months ago to the deadly pandemic, I can say that the ones who are left behind are called survivors for a reason and the only option left with them is to pick up the broken pieces of their life and try to drag to move on. In such a pursuit of diverting my mind, I was browsing through movies on Netflix when Instant Family popped up as a suggestion. Not in a mood for serious stuff, I thought let's give it a try and the movie proved to be an excellent cheer me up on a gloomy evening.
The movie is based on director Sean Anders's personal experience of adopting 3 siblings. Perhaps that's why the director was so effortlessly able to bring up the issue of adoption while sticking to the genre of family comedy drama.
A happy go lucky childless couple Peter and Elle are passionate about giving old properties a makeover. One day, Elle purchases a property and decides to do a turn it over into a beautiful house for her sister. However, when she reveals the property to her sister and her husband, their sarcasm leads to an argument which gets Peter and Elle thinking about adopting children. Soon, they enrol for a foster care program.
While attending an adoption fair, they find it tough to zero down on a prospective kid. However, Peter finds himself drawn towards a group of teenagers, whom nobody was interested in adopting. Despite Elle's warnings, Peter tries to approach them and is welcomed by a raw and blunt 15 year old Lizzy who asks Peter and Elle to stop showing pity and look for younger children who almost everyone preferred to adopt. Peter and Elle develop an instant liking for the brave and straight forward Lizzy and immediately express their desire of wanting to adopt her. However, that this was a package deal, for Lizzy came with her two younger siblings, Juan and Lita. Now you see, why the title is Instant Family!
While Peter and Elle were brave enough to adopt the three siblings, little did they know what they were signing up for. While the first few days were a dream family come true, soon they too joined the league of parents sharing their horror stories at the foster parents support group!
By the way...biological or adopted...who said parenting was easy?
And thus began Peter and Elle's struggle with parenting their three adopted kids. To make matters worse, the children's biological mother's frequent meetings with the children makes it almost impossible for Peter and Elle to develop a bond with the children. But Peter and Elle were not the ones to give up so easily.
The movie is not about who wins or loses in the end but the beautiful journey of transformation from foster parents to parents. One is left tearful and moved towards the end, for the movie proves that parenting is based on the bond of love and care, not umbilical cord!
The funny dialogues between the social workers Sharon (Tig Notaro) and Karen (Octavia Spencer) add to the fun and the audience are sure to fall in love with the straight and sass Karen!
In these tough times when orphaned children is a sad and cruel reality, movies like this give a ray of positivity and give a shoutout that the world can be a much better place with some genuine and selfless love and care.
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