THE GREAT GILLY HOPKINS (2015 Schlingel International Film Festival Chemintz The Free State of Saxony Germany)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.1|5.0 Starsììì

The Great Gilly Hopkins drops its audience into the life of a belligerent and difficult to deal with teen-ager without proper back-story preparation and without sufficient introduction to main characters. While the new foster mother seems to be a wanna-be-ally, the script is not well enough written to really make us see her as a helping hand. It is difficult to reconcile the emergence of a well-to-do grandmother with the foster child. It seems an averagely placed grandmother would have encouraged a deeper sense of realism instead of promoting the ‘I wish’ or ‘Beyond happily ever after dream’ as a realistic resolution for the main character’s future life. While the movie’s script tries to emphasize love, love is hard to pull out of this movie. The type of acting responsible for providing realism in a film is completely lacking despite some outstanding casting choices such as Glenn Close, Bill Cobbs, and Kathy Bates. Part of the failure is: Glenn Close is far too sophisticated to be acting in this film while Kathy Bates is at her usual average. The charismatic Bill Cobbs can play/fit into many film genres, both high budget and low budget, and do quite a nice job due to his acting flexibility and basic charisma. Overall? The film doesn’t work at any level and performs under a random quilting of incongruities.

Storyline

Gilly Hopkins (Sophie Nélisse), a foster home failure, consistently hopes for reunion with a mother who never comes for her.

Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director Stephen Herek for his directing efforts. Thank you to Executive Producers Chip Flaherty, Peyton Kay, William Kay, and Eve Schoukroun for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Maime Trotter (Kathy Bates), Nonnie (Glenn Close), Ms. Harris (Octavia Spencer), Courtney (Julia Stiles), Mr. Randolph (Bill Cobbs), Ellis (Billy Magnussen), W.E. (Zachary Hernandez), and Agnes (Clare Foley).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

No. The Great Gilly Hopkins seems to have a message; but that message, unfortunately, becomes convoluted and difficult to decipher. The film lacks the power to carry its story through.

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Ben Meyers

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