Then She Found Me is a 2007 film, directed and starring Helen Hunt, that was adapted from a 1990 novel by Elinor Lipman. The film was released in Canada in 2007 and in the United States in 2008. It is Hunt's directorial debut.
The film also stars Colin Firth, Bette Midler and Matthew Broderick. Famed writer Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, appears in a cameo role as a gynecologist.
April Epner (Helen Hunt) is a 39-year-old elementary school teacher and adult adoptee whose life is changing rapidly as the movie begins. April longs for a child, but she and her husband Ben (Matthew Broderick) have been unsuccessful in their attempts to conceive. Her adoptive mother tries to persuade her to adopt a child.
Then, the day after Ben abruptly leaves her, her adoptive mother passes away.
Into her life steps her birth mother Bernice Graves (Bette Midler), who had abandoned her when she was an infant. Bernice is suddenly anxious to get to know her long-lost daughter. April resists the idea, annoyed that she was abandoned.
Bernice, an exuberant woman with her own TV talk show, initially claims that April was fathered by Steve McQueen. This turns out to be a lie. While her relationship with Bernice develops, April struggles to reconcile her lingering feelings toward her husband with a new man in her life, the father of one of her students, Frank (Colin Firth).
The situation is complicated when April has a brief affair with Ben while seeing Frank (and pregnant with Ben's child at this stage). Frank reacts to this with anger, and they break up.
The plot is resolved as April works through her feelings for and relationships with Ben, Frank, and Bernice.
The movie is distinctly different from the book which inspired it and retains almost no original dialog. However, the characters of April and Bernice are still the prominent focus and their characters are similar to those in the book.
In the novel, April is a Jewish (although not religious like the character in the film) high school Latin teacher who has never married and who lives a quiet existence. Her recently-deceased adoptive parents were Holocaust survivors. She expresses no desire for children. In fact, Bernice commented to April, Ã¢â‚¬Å“You have your life, your work. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t bitch and moan about Saturday nights and about your biological clock.Ã¢â‚¬Â
As in the movie, AprilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s life is complicated by the sudden appearance of Bernice, who wants to establish a relationship. April agrees to see Bernice, despite her skepticism. Although she is angered by BerniceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lies and flamboyant, pushy personality, the new mother-daughter relationship changes AprilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s outlook on life. This leads to a romance with a bachelor librarian at her school, new friendships, and ideas. She learns more about herself in the process and meets her birth father (there was no father character in the movie).
Many readers of the novel, THEN SHE FOUND ME, complained to Elinor Lipman regarding the major differences between the novel and the film and criticized the Ã¢â‚¬Å“unfaithfulÃ¢â‚¬Â adaptation. Lipman, however, was very positive in her opinion of the film.
On her web site, --http://www.elinorlipman.com/ -- she sought to assure her readers (whom she refers to as Ã¢â‚¬Å“worrywartsÃ¢â‚¬Â) that Ã¢â‚¬Å“I love the movieÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ It's smart, wry, and very touching. The book is the book and the movie is its own entity. This I internalized early on when a wise friend told me, Ã¢â‚¬ËœThink of it as a movie based on characters suggested by the novel THEN SHE FOUND ME.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ I doÃ¢â‚¬Â and added Ã¢â‚¬Å“Honey, if I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mind the changes, why should you?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Lipman further explained that Helen Hunt and her co-writers tried more faithful adaptations of the book, but no one in Hollywood was interested. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was every version of no I've ever imagined,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Hunt. In her first correspondence to Lipman, she wrote Ã¢â‚¬Å“All I've hoped for is that you feel April and BerniceÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ are alive and well...Ã¢â‚¬Â