Posted: Sunday, December 12, 2010 5:22:52 AM
I watched the John Cusack movie "Martian child" last night and immediately ordered the book online. I like pretty much everything Cusack has done as an actor (particularly "Serendipity") but this was special and I had only seen bits and pieces of it before.
The movie is about an unusual man who adopts an unusual child. The man is a science fiction writer and the boy thinks he is from Mars. I love the characters; Joan Cusack (John's real sister) plays his sister in the movie. There is a tangible sweet and very "sibling like" connection between them. Another favorite character is the family dog "Somewhere". What a great name. The idea is that if he ever gets lost or runs away at least you will know that he is "Somewhere". It sounds like a silly plot but it turns sweet when the Cusack character attempts to bring the boy out of his shell; literally out of a box that he stays in and plays in most of the time, and into this "real world".
I think the real point of the story was that parenting is a very unconventional job and, at times, has to be approached in an unconventional manner. At times you have to make it up as you go along. The adoptive father in this story had to work hard to find areas of commonality. To find places where both he and the child could relate and live. He drew the child out of his fantasy world just enough to make him feel secure with his "Earth" father...but not so far out that the boy would would lose his individuality or have his security threatened to the point of breaking. The father embraced the flaws in the child and in himself and made it work to chase the fear away. At the end of this "cute", "silly" movie you found yourself in tears at the incredible patience of this father and the bond of love that he was able to forge with his "Martian" son.
Do you ever do this; see the movie and then want to read the book so bad you go right out and buy it? For me it often works the other way around too (read the book first and then want to see the movie), but I am often disappointed when I do it in that order.
Example: I watched "Field of Dreams" long before I realised that the movie was based on a book ("Shoeless Joe" by W.P. Kinsella). I recently read the book and enjoyed it thoroughly. The book seemed more real to me for whatever reason.
Example two: "The Time Travelers Wife"; the story is much the same in both formats, but the book had far greater detail. There were "scenes" in the book that didn't appear in the movie. I must admit that, in this case, I read the book first and then saw the movie. Does that make a difference?
I will follow up on this article after I have finished the book version of "Martian Child".