Instant Family (2018) Review


When Pete and Ellie Wagner feel something is missing in their life they decide to visit a foster care centre and enrol on a course with two social workers to be in with a chance to become foster parents. When they approach the teenage group, they end up involved with three children!


Going from no children to three children all at different ages was not exactly what Pete and Ellie had in mind. But they tried to take everything in their stride, trying to hold everything together and become good parents. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end!

The couple really do show how tough it can be to attempt to help children who have been passed around and taken away from their birth parents. In this case it was just their mother, who had drug problems and had been in prison. The film also manages to show how rewarding fostering to then trying to adopt can be and I certainly thought it mixed those moments in with the tough times.

It doesn’t pretend that it is easy and the foster parent support group is a place to vent, help and well quite frankly laugh at one another. I mean I don’t imagine it all happens as quickly as in this film? But please correct me if I am wrong with that, maybe the US system is like it shows in this film?

The kids each had different problems and issues which can be helped with the love they have lacked so far in life. That was something that I felt was essential for the film to really work, showing that they can be loved and have family. I had heard a lot of people saying they were crying or sobbing at some point when watching this one, I didn’t find myself like that but maybe it had been built up a little bit too much?

I am not saying I didn’t enjoy the film because I really did enjoy it. Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne brought out fantastic performances in one another and were very believable as the want to be parents. I felt the chemistry between them was very good and reassuring for the roles they were in. I certainly do find Margo Martindale as a total scene stealer in which ever type of film she was in and as Grandma Sandy she managed to do it a few times in this one as well, something I was not expecting. Octavia Spencer was her usual powerful self and worked very well alongside Tig Notaro as the two social workers.

I can fully understand the hype around this film as it was so much better than I could ever have expected. Although considering Cineworld had it as an Unlimited Screening (which I missed) I should have given it a lot more of a chance before seeing it. A nice story from start to finish, actually not only nice but a story with hope. Hope for the children that need a loving family, a film like this could really make people think more seriously about being a foster or adoptive parent.

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