LIKE DANDELION DUST
MOVIE: * (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
After being released from prison, Rip Porter (Barry Pepper) is told by his wife Wendy (Mira Sorvino) that while he was in the big house, she had their baby and forged documents to put him up for adoption. Rip then demands to reverse the adoption and forces the state to find the adoptive parents to start visitation proceedings with the child. When it looks like they might lose their son forever, the adoptive parents make drastic plans.
WHAT I LIKED
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
It is not often that a movie makes me truly angry. It usually takes some rape-murder-revenge flick like “I Spit On Your Grave” or “The Last House On the Left” to do this, but damn it if “Like Dandelion Dust” didn’t achieve the same end result.
While watching this film, my first thoughts were of horror. Would this be possible? Would a state agency go over state lines to force a family that had adopted an infant to return the child to the birth parents because of a fraud claim? The answer is no, actually. While there are a number of horror stories floating out there of birth parents reclaiming their children, most courts and state agencies will decide these cases based on the welfare of the child. So all you adoptive parents out there can breathe a sigh of relief… as long as you’re being good parents, or at least better parents than the crack-head you adopted your baby from.
After assuaging my worries, I just became incensed with this film. Nothing in it makes sense. Why does one state agency have a say over another? Were this to really take place, the Federal courts would be involved due to the adoption crossing state lines. Then there’s the question of why any court would allow dreadful, ex-con, abusive and arguably mentally unstable parents like the Porters have custody. Also, why don’t the adoptive parents try to torpedo the deal from the beginning. Were it to happen to me, I’d do everything in my power to undermine the authority of the adoption agency and the birth parents.
Because there is almost no attempt by the characters to do the right thing (until the very last minute when it is such a shot in the dark), I can’t say that any of the parents in this film are any good. Additionally, there’s an adoption official who seems to have limitless power, to the point that she’s allowed to escort a child of five across state lines from Florida to Ohio and back without being accompanied by even one parent.
Sigh… a “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” episode has more logic and reality to it.
What makes things worse is that the braintrust of “Like Dandelion Dust” are adoptive parents themselves. How irresponsible of these people to conjure a completely fabricated and wildly unrealistic plot and present it as possible. Even worse, in the special features, these people (including writer Karen Kingsbury and producer Kevin Downes) extol the virtues of adoption. But they do more to terrify would-be parents with this sad excuse for a Lifetime TV movie.
Shame on this film.
There are some decent special features, including an audio commentary with the director and producers, extended scenes and deleted scenes with commentary. There’s also a basic making-of featurette, “Like Dandelion Dust Comes to Life.” All these come with a pushy Christian message which looks down on the viewer quite a bit.
Finally, there’s the aforementioned “Adoption Stories,” which are pretentious, self-important and self-congratulatory stories of how author Karen Kingsbury and producer Kevin Downes took a nod from Angelina Jolie and Madonna by adopting kids from another country. This would be somewhat uplifting if the film itself wasn’t the most divisive and bitter look at the adoption process and undermines any good that can come out of it.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Probably no one seeking to adopt a child.