‘Instant Family’ (2019) – Film Review

Instant Family (Directed by Sean Anders), was not only a hilarious film, but also very heart warming and extremely emotional. We were laughing, then crying and then doing both. It was a whole whirlwind of emotions which made…

Instant Family (Directed by Sean Anders), was not only a hilarious film, but also very heart warming and extremely emotional. We were laughing, then crying and then doing both. It was a whole whirlwind of emotions which made it one of our instant favourite films (pun intended).

Instant Family is based loosely on a true story, or as it says on-screen: “Inspired by a true story”. In fact, after doing some research, we found that it was inspired by the writer/director’s own experience of adopting, surrounding the issues and emotions he faced while going through the process. The film follows a married couple, Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) who want to start a family and decide that they want to foster a child. They intend to foster a 5-year-old girl, but after meeting Lizzy (Isabela Moner), an uncontrollable 15-year-old girl they decide to foster her. Little do they know, she won’t be fostered without her younger brother, Juan (Gustavo Quiroz) and her younger sister, Lita (Julianna Gamiz). Pete and Ellie go from no kids, to three kids in a matter of days as we watch them struggle in their new role as parents. We found ourselves connected to them and felt like we were going through their new process too.


From watching the trailer which featured Rose Byrne, who’s mostly known as a comedic actress, we thought the film was going to be a classic comedy. But oh, how we were wrong – it was touching and emotional and often left us in tears (tbh, we are total emotional wrecks most days and it really doesn’t take much in a film to make us cry, but this film made us SOB) Nevertheless, it was also a very funny film, with many comical gags occurring throughout that really did make us laugh out loud. Since the film was based on a real-life story, it showed the reality of family, highly relatable for many; arguments with your parents, flighting with siblings, parents trying to get involved in your personal life.

Another great element of the film was its acting. Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne were the perfect pair to play Pete and Ellie; they had great on-screen chemistry as both a married couple and new modern parents and they were kind of cool, like the parents you wish you had (sorry mum and dad). The scenes transition so well and the little montages showing them all falling in love with each other and becoming a proper family really made us grin (and happy cry).

Instant Family really shines a light on some of the issues that come with the fostering process and the length some people have to go through to be able to foster. It also showed how the parents feel when they foster kids, highlighting the emotions they go through which is shown through the parents going through support groups with other foster parents. At the support group they used humour to talk about serious issues the new parents were facing. Issues such as: accepting a new person into their lives or whether their new child will cut their throats in the middle of the night (you’ll laugh when you watch it). Nevertheless, the intention to capture the joy that family can bring worked, and it was amazing watching these strangers become a family and forming their ‘cosmic’ bond.

instant family

Overall, this is a very enjoyable film, giving you comedy, drama, some slight action, a whole load of emotions and Mark Walhberg’s biceps, (His biceps look like they were stolen from Hercules himself). Instant Family really had us crying up until the last moment, including the credits, where they displayed images of real-life foster families, including Sean Anders and his family.

The film promotes fostering and adoption, providing a website for people to find more information out about the subject in the credits. If you are interested or want to find out more about the process, follow the link here: InstantFamily.org

Instant Family is released in UK cinemas February 14th

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUfZq3DUd3Y

(Read more of Jess’ work at jessreviewsfilms.wordpress.com)

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