Hunt herself plays Epner, a 39-year-old woman working as an Elementary school teacher in N.Y.C. She has wanted a baby all her life, and now she is going through a mid-life crisis of sorts regarding her biological clock. To add to her complications, her husband Ben (Matthew Broderick, The Producers) is about to tell her their marriage is over. The next day, he inexplicably leaves with no goodbye…and then her mother passes away soon afterward.
Dismissing Then She Found Me as a chick flick is unfair. Women’s film, maybe, would be more like it. It’s also an unusually mature film, with moments of honest, awkward comedy and others which pack a dramatic punch. This is more of a drama than a romantic comedy, because the laughs present feel so utterly true-to-life (Hunt has stated this is largely autobiographical). The sensitive subject matter may be too feminine for some men to slog through, yet Hunt (who also co-produced and directed) gives more of the spotlight to her co-stars, particularly Firth.
Among her co-stars, Broderick is given almost nothing to do. Still, that doesn’t stop him from selling every scene he’s in. It’s no surprise he figures later in the story, and it’s even no bigger surprise his mind and heart will continue to battle each other. What’s refreshing is his non-existent excuses for escape and restriction. Check out the early scene in which he is determined to tell April he’s leaving, and yet he can’t put into words why he’s making his decision. Instead, he keeps telling April to take off her coat and sit down while he’s trying to figure out what to say. And when he sees what she is wearing under that coat, it impairs his judgment even more.
Helen Hunt has crafted an exceptional film full of passionate writing and idiosyncratic characterizations. The cast could not be better. Then She Found Me is superb not just as a film, but also showcasing Hunt’s range in more than just acting.