Foster Flick

A feel-good comedy that dives into the trenches of the foster care system is in a theater near you

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Foster Flick

Photo by Madi Robertson

Photo by Madi Robertson

Photo by Madi Robertson

Madi Robertson, Reporter

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With Thanksgiving passing and the holiday season getting in full swing, the movies will undoubtedly be brimming with new releases. As the final horror movies from October finally make their way out, the typical feel-good types begin to take their place. And from my personal experience, the first weekend of December was no exception.

My mom being a movie guru means one thing: getting roped into Saturday night movies. Since I already suffered through the new rendition of The Grinch last weekend (which I may have secretly loved), I can’t say I was excited when I was told about the new movie we’d be seeing that night: Instant Family. Five minutes into the screening, however, I was already hooked.

Mark Wahlberg, known for just about everything imaginable, and Rose Byrne, famous for her role as the insufferable Helen from Bridesmaids, come together in the new movie Instant Family. The movie is about a couple (Wahlberg and Byrne) that grows bored of their lives as house-flippers and decide they want children. Specifically, they make their way to their local foster care center with the intentions of fostering and potentially adopting some kids. Comedy and chaos ensues.

I wanted to touch base on four major parts of the movie that stood out to me: plot, characters, tone, and purpose.


To begin, the plot of Instant Family is by no means intricate. The movie isn’t meant to make the viewer twist and turn in confusion, so those looking for a stressful, heavier film should most definitely not attend.

By no means am I saying the plot won’t have an effect on the viewer. Quite the contrary, for I found myself tearing up more than just a couple of times. The first major plot point and non-spoiler was when the couple fostered three siblings with the intentions of adopting them. The movie then extends the struggles of adapting to their new life.

The steady development of the characters takes place throughout the entire movie, which just so happens to be my next point of interest.


While I often find myself grossly favoring and disfavoring certain characters over others, the characters in Instant Family had a different effect on me.

I found myself relating to or understanding problems with each of the main characters. There were distasteful and insensitive characters, which were mocked by their peers, and the writers even made a teenage girl likable, which, honestly, was such a breath of fresh air.

Each of the adults and children in the movie bring something to the table. I cried with the characters, I laughed with them, and I found myself leaving the movies feeling like I knew these characters personally.


The movie’s outer tone is definitely a mix of chaos and humor. It mixes the struggles of daily family life with a massive amount of humor, which I personally really enjoyed. It helped the movie not appear preachy when it turned towards the more heavy subjects, such as adoption, addiction, and the true workings of the foster care system.

The deeper tone, something I believe the audience may experience but not recognize, is warmth. The movie itself had my heart feeling full the entire time.

The way the family loves, grows, and protects one another is prevalent through the tone of dialogue and setting.


While I believe the purpose of the movie was definitely to entertain, akin to every movie made, I also believe it was created to inform and inspire.

The movie tied specific situations, such as, an 8 week child care course that every potential foster parent is required to take and pass, “court bears”, which every young child gets during every court visit, and outside criticism towards parents fostering children, to point to a much larger purpose.

The movie showed how fostering and adopting children is a massive change to someone’s life, and it will never be easy. However, with patience and love, this decision to adopt a child could be the best decision someone ever makes.

Even I found myself contemplating adoption. I always wanted to have a lot of kids, and this movie definitely opened my eyes to the possibility of adoption. The cute credit scene of pictures full of families that have adopted certainly had me leaving the theater with adoption on my mind, which makes me think the creators got exactly what they wanted.

Overall, this movie is nothing short of meaningful. I would highly recommend everyone to take two hours out of their day to go and support this film before it leaves theaters.