Martian Child | Chicago Reader

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A widowed sci-fi novelist (John Cusack) adopts and struggles to connect with a pale, withdrawn, spooky kid (Bobby Coleman) who's been abused and abandoned and who now insists he's from Mars. In David Gerrold's loosely autobiographical novel, the adoptive father is gay, a notion the filmmakers must have ditched at warp speed; his sexuality isn't really crucial to the story, but the two characters' pasts are so sketchy here that the drama lacks any serious emotional underpinning. Cusack carries this unabashed tearjerker, and though he doesn't take a producing credit, most of the key players are colleagues of his from earlier projects: director Menno Meyjes (Max) and actors Amanda Peet (Identity), Oliver Platt (The Ice Harvest), Anjelica Huston (The Grifters), and Joan Cusack (High Fidelity). PG, 106 min.

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