Key Points:


* * * *

Verdict: A charming directorial debut effort from actress Helen Hunt
Helen Hunt proves you can revive a career when you're female, over 40 and in Hollywood, with this adaptation of American author Elinor Lipman's 1990 novel Then She Found Me.
As well as playing the lead - April Epnew, a 39-year-old Jewish New York school teacher - Hunt directed what is a surprisingly entertaining film and also produced and co-wrote the screenplay.
Obviously a labour of love, Hunt immerses herself within this anxious and nervous character desperate to conceive a baby.
April's life is turned upside down  when her relatively new husband Ben (Matthew Broderick) leaves her, her adoptive mother dies, and out of the blue her birth mother, overbearing TV host Bernice (Bette Midler), makes contact with her for the first time.
While coming to grips with all this, the quirky and delightfully bumbling father of one of her students, Frank (Colin Firth), asks her out on a date, sending her into quite a spin.
Then She Found Me is a dialogue-driven romantic comedy that has   stereotypical Jewish characters but avoids the rom-com formula. While the ending is what you expect, it's a pleasurable and, at times, unpredictable journey to the film's conclusion.
The dialogue is sometimes too heavy but  it also fills out what  is actually quite a threadbare story, and is mostly witty and delivered with an understated comedic tone. Strong performances by Hunt, Firth and Midler also help the time go by.
While this isn't a perfect directing debut from Hunt, Then She Found Me shows that the actress has promise as a director keen to capture real moments and emotions.
While April's mid-life crisis borders on being an annoyingly overwrought affair, this film itself is a surprisingly witty, moving and enjoyable little story.

Francesca Rudkin

Cast: Colin Firth, Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick, Helen Hunt
Director: Helen Hunt
Running Time: 101 mins
Rating: M (offensive language, sexual references)
Screening: Rialto, SkyCity, Berkeley, Rialto and Bridgeway Cinemas