A Simple Twist of Fate (1994) Review

When Michael McCann suffered a devastating blow in his life he closes himself off from the world and everything would change when a baby shows up at his house, who he adopts and names Mathilda.


The opening scene of A Simple Twist of Fate is nothing but brutal, when Michael’s heavily pregnant wife suddenly reveals that the baby is not actually his. I mean I was seriously not prepared for that brutal opening and we cannot help but feel utterly sorry for him. Then we move forward a few years and find him living in a small town all alone, keeping himself to himself.

When her mother dies and the baby crawls into Michael’s house it would change everything about his outlook on life and sees it as his duty to take her in and raise her as his own daughter. It is actually quite a lovely story in that sense and the relationship between the pair really shows how much love can do. Assisted by April Simon who owns a local store, and has a young son herself.

Everything was never going to be easy though when John Newland who is Mathilda’s biological father decides that he now wants her back, even though he did not want the baby to risk his political career years earlier. As the case goes to court it becomes incredibly frustrating and infuriating when it appears that because John has more money than Michael that everything will be given to him.

I guess that helped to highlight how bad courts can be when it comes to that type of thing and really not focusing on how much love and protection Michael had given her during the early years in her life and the fact that her “real” father actually knew about her mothers death and did nothing claiming he did not know them.

The best thing about the film really was the performance from Steve Martin, he took on the writing for the script and you could really see just how passionate he was in his performance. Offering a truly sweet and amazing character who anyone would be honoured to have as a father. Slightly different type of role for Gabriel Byrne which was interesting enough. Catherine O’Hara offered some lovely moments in support as well, maybe we should have had even more of her character and overall it would have been better?

Even with the decent performance from Martin and the nice story at its core it was really just lacking real substance to make it a good film, and ended up being below average instead.

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