After her mothers death, a young girl is separated from her abusive father and is sent between her various friends and relatives, always longing to find a place to call home.
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Because the passage of years has a way of fogging most adults' memories oftheir own "childhoods" - especially in the intangible areas of feelings,hopes, hurts, decisions, goals, strategies, etc., they will often concludethat "children" are sort of non-sentient, non-human beings - blank pagesin-putting a stream of data for use in their later, more important aftermetamorphosis existence. I read a review once of "The Cure", a moviestarring young actors Joseph Mazzello and Brad Renfro, where a critic in abackhanded compliment called them "two of the best pre-actors around." Isuppose that was because, being under twenty-one, they must be "pre-people."Judging by a few of Jena Malone's recent public remarks, not to mention herown real-life experiences, I'm sure she would object to such an attitude.Certainly, her film career belies that attitude. The movie "Ellen Foster" isa good case in point. In it she portrays an eleven year-old girl who, whenbuffeted by the cruelty and insensitivity of the supposed wise adult worldresponsible for her care, sets out determinedly to shape a world for herselfthat does make sense. Ellen belongs to no one but her own unique reallyhuman self.However, it isn't just the character who achieves the point. More important,by her powerful performance, Miss Malone certainly proves she is an actor -and person - of substance. Her ability to read and interpret with suchperception and sensitivity the inner being of Ellen as she goes through hertrials and sets out on her steadfast quest is precisely on point. This movieis a tour de force for Jena Malone. In the field of acting, she takes a backseat to no one ... of any age.
Ellen's ability to keep pressing on, when many would give up, make the story a special one. Although it is more likely that a person who is abused will either withdraw or become angry, Ellen's role is both delicate and charming.The special features tell us that the reason the aunts wear those gaudy 60's style sunglasses is to tell us that even when they are looking right at something - staring at it - they can't see it. How true when people become so callous.Ellen's mistake in taking the name "Foster" (it isn't her real name in the story) is a bit of humor that is so welcome when we feel her pain. Her courage and those who do care about her, are well done and powerful. The judge, who wishes he had the freedom to place Ellen with her school teacher (played by Amanda Peet), who does take her in after she is physically abused, shows us how a system that seems so logical, can fail us.This is a heart-warming story that leaves you with something to think about.
This is a story about a little girl searching for a place to call "home" and for a family to love her. That is all she wanted, just love. The only person in her life that loved her was her mother and she died from a disease. So Ellen was left with her alcoholic and abusive father. She got taken away from him and no one wanted her. All of her relatives didn't want her because they didn't like her. They were all rich and Ellen barley had enough to survive. So the court kept tossing her around from family member to family memeber. So finally, she ran away to a foster family that she had heard about. She begged the woman to take her in and she did. She was just the person that Ellen needed. Ellen was a stong person who knew that if she wanted something bad enough, that God would finally give it to her. She knew what she wanted and she ofught for it. She had more courage than anyone I have ever seen, and she turned out a better person because of it.
This didnt really do the book justice. I found that they changed way too much and the stuff they added in was way too corny. The emotions werent really present like the book showed (which the book was confusing on its own). Overall everything was just plain and nothign really interesting happened. Its not horrible, but it needs a lot of work.
The Movie "Ellen Foster" followed the journey that a young abused girl takes to find a place to call home. Based on the book written by Kaye Gibbons, this horrifying but yet modern story makes the common day person thankful for their wonderful but not perfect life. With both famous screen stars such as Jena Malone and Amanda Peet and debuting cast such as Allison Jones, this movie is definetly one to put in a time capsul. Honorable mentions also include Kate Burton, Ted Levine, Julie Harris, Debra Monk, Glynnis O'Connor and director John Erman. With a star studded cast list and amazing author of the movie's base, this movie is set for life. Ellen Hammond (Malone) was a young girl with adult-like maturity. Many children her age had never seen or felt what she had. When the movie opens, we see Ellen's father Bill (Levine) drunk and asleep on the couch. Ellen is going to get her mother from the hospital with her aunt. When Ellen's mother, Charlotte (O'Connor) returns, she is faced with orders from her husband to clean and cook when she really should be in bed resting. Charlotte works herself to her own death that day, and that is when Ellen's journey begins.Ellen's school relizes that Bill is abusing Ellen and relocates her to the Art Teacher Julia's ( Peet) house. Ellen is loved and cared for there until a court order sends her to live with her grandmother Leonora Nelson (Harris), who hates Ellen and Bill with all her might. Leonora believes that it was Ellen and Bill's fault that Charlotte died, and she forces Ellen to work as a maid as a form of revenge. When Leonora dies, Ellen is sent to live with her aunt Nadine (Monk). Nadine is very wealthy and spoils her daughter, and Ellen is never truly welcome in the house. After an intense argument, Ellen leaves the house and goes to a foster mother. There she is accepted and is loved, and Ellen changes her name to Ellen Foster. Though this movie was fascinating, it left out Ellen's deepest feelings. What was so amazing in the book was how strong and independent she was. The movie seemed to touch her lifestyle rather then her actual inner self. It was the writers who had a challenge in front of them and took the audience friendly side of the story or in my opinion, the easy way out.Kaye Gibbons' message was not stated to the extent that she portrayed it in the book. This movie has a definite feel to it that will not be lost, which is sad. In 1997, when this movie came out, abuse was found everyday. Eight years later, nothing has changed. I guess that is what will keep this movie alive for generations to come.
I THINK THE MOVIE WAS A GREAT MOVIE AND I HOPE TV WILL SHOW IT. I THINK THE ACTORS WERE GRAT TO I CRYED SOMETIME WHEN T SAW THE MOVIE
I was glad that the director did not devote so much time to "abuse" in this movie as to the "neglect" and lonliness of this child and her incredible will to survive. This movie was such a tribute to what strong determination and survival instincts a parent can foster in a child in even a short time. Julie Harris was incredible, as always as the hateful grandmother. Jena Malone was outstanding.My only criticism of the movie was the ending, which I didn't think was strong enough. After everything you see this child go though, when she finally goes to the foster house and finds a new mother, you want the woman to just pick her up and hold her and really comfort her. Other than that, however, the movie was wonderful.
i've read positive reviews of this program and only signed on here tocounterpoint the first writer. EF is a brilliant little book and the titlecharacter is so far from being a brat that the first reviewer here soundslike one of ellen's relatives. i don't know how successful the film is inconveying the powerful combination of poverty and abuse that EF overcomesonher own, but the book is a dry-eyed treasure, just like itsheroine.
The movie was horrible. The book was ten times better than the movie, if you want a good movie, get American History X. This was the worst movie I have ever seen!
I was astonished to read the review characterizing Ellen as a "brat" who"couldn't get along with anybody." The title character in the story issweet, gentle, and patient (although sometimes pushed to the point offrustration with people who repeatedly trample her.) She, in fact, getsalong with everyone in the movie who is even slightly kind to her. Themovie is a heartwarming and thought-provoking story that avoids being whineyor saccharrine-sweet.
This is a really really really really great movie! It is soooooo sad and sweet at the same time. It is also really faithful to the book by Kaye Gibbons (or something). After I saw the movie, I read the book (it was an Oprah bookclub book, I think) and it is also really good. You should definately see it!
This review is from: Ellen Foster (DVD) Received product on time and the packaging was great. Movie played great, no skips or spinning. Would recommend this seller and would purchase from them again.
I taught this novel to a class of high school seniors, and then they watched the movie. It was a short, yet suitable video. Although it did deviate from the book at times, the characters are very well chosen and portrayed accuratly from the novel.
Ellen Foster is the story of a 10 year old girl desperately searching for atrue family to call her own. When her mother dies she is left with herfather until taken away when the school learns he hits her. She stays with ateacher who volunteers to take her in and who gives her a taste of what ahappy family could be like. This ends when her harridan of a grandmotherlies in court by telling the judge that she wants custody. Turns out shejust wants cheap slave labor, and she goes so far as to tell Ellen that sheintends on making her pay for the death of her mother, though Ellen hadnothing to do with anything that the father did to her. Soon the grandmotherhas a stroke and then dies. She is taken in by one of her aunts who is nicerthan the grandmother but only on the surface. Ellen's cousin despises herand this situation soon leads to a fight that has Ellen leaving the house onChristmas Day to go to The Foster house. She thinks that the home is afamily named Foster, but it is a woman who takes in girls that are unwantedor orphaned.Jena Malone as in her previous film, Bastard Out of Carolina, stars as theabused child, but rather than seem like the pedestrian movie of the week, itis a standout performance. She may still be considered a child actress, butit is very hard not to notice that she's got some great actingchops.
I am usually a fan of Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movies, but this one failedto win my heart. At best, it was a SEMI- entertaining flick with JenaMaloneplaying a "troubled" girl (now is that creative or what?)who fails to getalong with completely anybody. In other words, she's a complete littlebrat.If I want to see a movie about a troubled child, I will watch the firsthalfof Jane Eyre. At least that one is entertaining and shows a vague humansidebehind all of Jane's "fiestiness." I failed to make the same connectionwithEllen and that makes for a rather unlikeable little character and a nonetoolikeable film. I'd give it a five out of ten at MOST.
Jena Malone is masterful beyond her years. Her performance is compelling and spell binding in every sense. This story grabs your heart and never lets go even after the credits have rolled. Helen Foster (Jena Malone) learns that home is not necessarially where your relatives are but where the love is. This is absolutely a video to own and revisit from year to year.
I saw this movie last night for the first time on the Odyssey Channel, andit is on again now. I thought it was brilliant, and nobody could havematched the way Jena Malone brought Ellen to life. Jena is one of myfavorite actresses (I've seen 3 of her movies this month!) and I have beenafan of hers for a long time. I think that this is one of her most powerfulroles, and she did a great job in her portrayal as the child of analcoholicfather being shuffled from relative to relative after her mother dies.Jenais definitely going to be a major actress when she gets older, as heractingtalents are unbelievable. :)
This review is from: Ellen Foster [VHS] (VHS Tape) My students had read the novel Ellen Foster, and as a reward and to prompt discussion I showed them the movie. It followed the novel closely, a good family-friendly film. I showed it three weeks ago, and just two days ago, the public library called to tell me that their copy was finally in and for me to come pick it up. Thank goodness for Amazon!
Ellen Foster is the story of a young girl desperately seeking to find a real family. Her real family is an abusive, drunken father and a mother in chronic ill-health. Ellen is, by default, the woman of the house and takes care of two parents. She meets disapproval from her grandmother becuase her mother married against her mother's wishes and grandmother has never forgiven her - at one point she offers the mom the chance to return to the family mansion but without her daughter. "Trash begats trash" is a powerful statement for a grandmother to make about her granddaughter.Mom eventually dies, dad deteriorates and eventually ends up in jail. As her family disappears, Ellen is given protection by one of her school teachers. There the affection from the adults to Ellen is immediate and enduring. But it doesn't last as Ellen goes to live with her grandmother, on court order. Life with grandmother is brutal, in it's own way. Ellen is clothed but trreated more as hired help than a granddaughter. She eats in the dining room with gradnmother on sunday afternoon. The rest of the time she eats with the servants. She works for her room and board. But it doesn't last forever as grandmother has a stroke and ultimately dies, miserable to the end towards Ellen.Then it's off to an aunt with a child of her own and it doesn't get any better. The friction between the girls is palpable, although Ellen is not the instigator.In the meantime, Ellen has seen a woman with several girls in church. These children vary in age from late teens to a baby. They also vary in race. Ellen is interested in this family and learns they are the "Foster" family. Ellen even rides her bike past the house but is a little confused when there is another name on the mail box. Ellen is also exploring other families. Her best friend in school is a black girl and Ellen gets along well with her family. Ellen gets a reality check when she asks about her staying with the family permanently. The father tells her that white people wouldn't like it if a white girl lived with a black family. Ellen says that it's ok now, we have integration - a truthful and innocent statement. She is aadvised that it won't work. Back to the Foster family.A blow-up in the aunt's home with the daughter sees Ellen on the move again. This time, it is christmas day and she is wearing her best dress and walking to the Foster home. There she offers the mother her savings so that she can stay there until high school is over. The whole scene at the kitchen table is tremendously powerful and moving. Eventually Ellen gets her family but the scars of her earlier "real" family are still there.This is a story that ultimately has a fairly happy ending but the trials of this girl within her own family group is discouraging not to say tragic. She meets people along the way who see what is happening and want to help, but the legal system gets in the way. It is a film, while set in the South of a few decades ago, is just as valid to the here and now. It should be a must see for everyone. Tears and anger are evenly mixed. It is a memorable film with excellent performances from all the cast. See it soon.
I think it'd be a fair assessment that most - heck, ALL Hallmark TV moviesare guaranteed to send a message to the viewer, plucking the heartstringsthe whole while. And that is certainly true of this movie as well. Butthisparticular film has something special going for it that perhaps the othersdo not - and that is superlative acting.Young Jena Malone is a major talent who I hope will be given everyopportunity to strut her stuff in the future. And Julie Harris isdeliciously evil in her role as the Grandmother.Ted Levine as the uncaring, self-centered alcoholic father....perfection!This is again a situation where the actor rises above the material to turnin a performance that another actor could have easily utilized for hisbestscenery chewing. Mr. Levine is one of the finest - and in my opinion -mostunderused actors around today. Let's just hope that for him, like Ms.Malone, every opportunity will be afforded him in the future to dazzle uswith his outstanding ability. He simply shines in everything hedoes!Did I like this film? You bet! Is it for everyone? Perhaps not - but seeitfor the ACTING, if nothing else. Enjoy.