HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Worst Person in the World, The
Whirlpool
Hunter Will Get You
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Revolver
Men, The
Parallel Mothers
Sadness, The
Bloody New Year
Faye
Body Count
Spider-Man: No Way Home
'Round Midnight
Wild Men
Barry & Joan
Wake Up Punk
Twin, The
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
One of These Days
Lift to the Scaffold
Savage Dawn
Rest in Pieces
Innocents in Paris
We're All Going to the World's Fair
Beyond the Door 3
Jules et Jim
Love Jones
Saint-Narcisse
Souvenir Part II, The
Knockabout
400 Blows, The
Virus: 32
Studio 666
Great Movement, The
Lost in La Mancha
Cellar, The
Sacred Spirit, The
Chess of the Wind
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Scream
   
 
Newest Articles
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
   
 
  Great Gilly Hopkins, The Problem Child
Year: 2016
Director: Stephen Herek
Stars: Sophie Nélisse, Kathy Bates, Glenn Close, Octavia Spencer, Julia Stiles, Bill Cobbs, Billy Magnussen, Zachary Hernandez, Clare Foley, Sammy Pignalosa, Toby Turner, Richard Topol, Cara Cooper, Salvatore Rossi, Cameron Clifford
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Bumped from one foster home after another, fiendishly smart Gilly Hopkins (Sophie Nélisse) has outwitted every family she lived with. In an effort to escape her loving, endlessly patient new foster mother Maime Trotter (Kathy Bates), Gilly concocts a daring plan she believes will finally bring her long-lost mother (Julia Stiles) to her rescue. But when the ploy blows up in Gilly's face it threatens to ruin the only chance she has ever had to be part of a real family.

Foster parents tend to get a bad rap in movies. More often than not they are crudely caricatured as fairytale villains. Happily The Great Gilly Hopkins goes some way towards redressing the balance. Adapted from a lesser known though award-winning book written by Bridge to Terabithia (2007) author Katherine Paterson - whose son playwrite David Paterson produces and scripts - the film tackles themes and centres on a troubled young protagonist similar to the CBBC series The Story of Tracy Beaker created by British children's writer Jacqueline Wilson. Rising French-Canadian actress Sophie Nélisse builds on the promise shown in The Book Thief (2003), morphing from the angelic Liesel into a surly, gum-chewing, wise-cracking, self-destructive delinquent. She does not entirely shed her accent but nevertheless delivers a thoughtful, carefully nuanced performance that goes a long way towards making Gilly a compelling lead.

Gilly is not an easy kid to like but that is entirely the point. She lies, cheats, bullies and steals and uses her sharp mind to manipulate people that only want the best for her. Yet she is also wounded and vulnerable and, like so many abandoned children faced with similar emotions, lashes out at everyone in sight. It takes the combined efforts of dedicated foster mom Trotter and schoolteacher Miss Harris (Octavia Spencer) to break down those walls, through tenderness, discipline and a whole lot of patience. A potentially dark and dubious moment arises when Gilly tries to get herself expelled from school by penning a racist letter to Miss Harris. Yet the scene plays out as an insightful, touching confrontation between the two.

As often with Paterson, art provides the key to unlocking humanity buried within a troubled soul. Here kindly blind neighbour Mr. Randolph (Bill Cobbs) introduces Gilly to poetry which slowly opens her eyes to the realization she is not the only wounded, vulnerable person in the world. Instead of merely manipulating her peers, she grows increasingly kind and caring towards her sickly foster brother W.E. (Zachary Hernandez), friendship-starved Agnes (Clare Foley, latterly the young Poison Ivy on TV's Gotham) and studious tutor Rajeem (Sammy Pignalosa). Stephen Herek, the director behind Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), does not make this story especially cinematic. In many ways The Great Gilly Hopkins comes across like a high quality made-for-TV movie. However the film retains the gentle humanity inherent in Paterson's original book. For all its heartwarming qualities to its great credit the film does not sugar-coat the unstable life of a foster child. Just when Gilly seems to have got her life together along comes her long-lost grandmother (Glenn Close) who misunderstands her situation. Before long poor Gilly has to start all over again.

Throughout a series of low-key but affecting twists and turns, The Great Gilly Hopkins spins an engaging, gently humane story meditating on the theme that nobody's life is ever perfect. We all have our battle scars and while they may not disappear entirely they do heal. All it takes is a little time and kindness.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2241 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: