Adoption Drama Chronicles Emotional Tug of War over Six Year-Old
Wendy Porter (Mira Sorvino) had no idea she was pregnant the night she had her abusive husband Rip (Barry Pepper) arrested for breaking her arm in a fit of rage during another one of his drinking binges. And when he was sent up the river for a long stint in the state pen, she decided to surrender the baby to an adoption agency, figuring that she would never be able to provide for their child properly.
Enter Jack (Cole Hauser) and Molly (Kate Levering), a well-to-do couple living large down in sunny Jacksonville, Florida, half a country away. After finalizing adoption papers, The Campbells flew to Ohio to take custody of Joey (Maxwell Perry Cotton), and subsequently proceeded to raise him in the lap of luxury. That might have been the end of the story, except for the fact that the infant’s father’s signature had been forged on the consent from.
Fast-forward a half-dozen years, when Rip returns home from prison, rehabilitated and ready to resume a relationship with his wife. Wendy, sensing that her hubby’s really turned a new leaf, informs him first about the fact that he’s a daddy, and then about the falsified document giving Joey away to the Campbells, presumably permanently.
Not surprisingly, the reconciled Porters now want their child back, so they consult an attorney who gives them the good news that the law’s on their side. Therefore, they file a motion in court to reverse the adoption, whereupon the judge issues an order that six-year old Joey be returned to his birthparents because of the underlying fraud.
Needless to say, this decision doesn’t sit well with the Campbells, who hadn’t even yet told the boy that he was adopted. Furthermore, they understandably feel that he’s already been with them so long that it would do irreparable harm to take him away at this point.
This unfortunate scenario sets up the emotional tug of war at the center of Like Dandelion Dust, a heartrending drama directed by Jon Gunn (Mercy Streets). Based on Karen Kingsbury’s best seller of the same name, the character-driven film is blessed by compelling performances by a talented ensemble topped by Barry Pepper and Mira Sorvino.
Never telegraphing which couple will ultimately prevail, this even-handed production makes persuasive cases for both en route to a Solomon-like resolution designed to restore one’s faith in humanity. If only folks were as reasonable in real-life, we wouldn’t be reading about so many adoption nightmares.
Excellent (3.5 stars)
Running time: 104 Minutes
Distributor: Downes Brothers Entertainment