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Martian Child
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Martian Child

4.7 8
Director: Menno Meyjes, John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Sophie Okonedo

Cast: Menno Meyjes, John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Sophie Okonedo

Adapted from a Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novelette by author David Gerrold, Menno Meyjes's Martian Child stars John Cusack as a widowed science fiction writer who adopts a boy (Bobby Coleman) who claims to be from the Red Planet. The writer believes the child acts


Adapted from a Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novelette by author David Gerrold, Menno Meyjes's Martian Child stars John Cusack as a widowed science fiction writer who adopts a boy (Bobby Coleman) who claims to be from the Red Planet. The writer believes the child acts strangely in order to process the difficulty he has had in his young life, but soon both he and his sister (Joan Cusack) begin to wonder if the boy might be telling the truth. Amanda Peet co-stars as the woman who becomes a mother figure for the boy.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Martian Child is the K-PAX of movies in which widowers adopt orphans. This dismissive summation does not mean Menno Meyjes' film is bad, just that it can be neatly categorized: it's an inspirational drama with just enough whimsy to keep it from constantly tugging at your heart strings. Dennis (Bobby Coleman) is like K-PAX's Prot (Kevin Spacey) in several ways, not least of which is the idea that he really could be from outer space. Both characters have powers that are super-human enough to defy explanation, and both appear to know intimate details about their home planet and native tongue, which are brilliantly complicated delusions at the very least. The big difference is that Dennis is a child in need of guardianship, so when John Cusack's science fiction writer takes that leap, its replete with the danger of worsening the child's evident psychological trauma if the adoption doesn't stick. Cusack is the main element that shakes Martian Child out of its comfortable formula; his anguished and soulful performance truly gets inside the enormity of this perilous new responsibility. Coleman also does decent work, though that comes with an unavoidable asterisk. Namely, Dennis' affect must be strange in order to convince us he thinks he's an alien, but Coleman's rote and whispery line deliveries could also just be poor craft. (Not that picking on a ten-year-old actor is ever really fair.) The rest of the details fall into place more or less as expected -- Amanda Peet is on hand as a tentative love interest for Cusack's grieving widower, Oliver Platt is on hand as the obligatory literary agent nagging his client for manuscript pages, and Joan Cusack is on hand because, well, she's John Cusack's sister. Still, Martian Child exceeds expectations enough to be worth a flier, especially for K-PAX fans.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
New Line Home Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Feature audio commentary with producers David Kirschner and Corey Sienega and writers Seth E. Bass and Jonathan Tolins; Deleted scenes; "Handle With Care Working With the Martian Child" featurette; "The Real Martin Child" featurette

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Cusack David
Amanda Peet Harlee
Sophie Okonedo Sophie
Oliver Platt Jeff
Bobby Coleman Dennis
Joan Cusack Liz
Richard Schiff Lefkowitz
Anjelica Huston Mimi

Technical Credits
Menno Meyjes Director
Mary Gail Artz Casting
Seth Bass Co-producer,Screenwriter
Michael Dennison Costumes/Costume Designer
Mike Drake Executive Producer
Ed Elbert Producer
Toby Emmerich Executive Producer
David Gerrold Executive Producer
Bruce Green Editor
Robert C. Jackson Sound/Sound Designer
Mark Kaufman Executive Producer
David Kirschner Producer
Hugo Luczyc-Wyhowski Production Designer
Matt Moore Executive Producer
Valdís Óskarsdóttir Editor
Luke Ryan Associate Producer
Corey Sienega Producer
Jonathan Tolins Co-producer,Screenwriter
Michael Williamson Sound/Sound Designer
Robert Yeoman Cinematographer
Aaron Zigman Score Composer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Martian Child
1. Opening Credits/David Gordon [3:55]
2. Boy in the Box [5:04]
3. Getting to Know Dennis [7:20]
4. New Home [7:12]
5. Lucky Charms [2:33]
6. Learning to Be Human [4:30]
7. Martian Wishes [:03]
8. Baseball Lessons [3:57]
9. School Troubles [6:01]
10. Taste Color [5:29]
11. Hysterical [3:16]
12. Breakthrough [4:47]
13. Earth Rules [5:45]
14. New School [4:34]
15. Flomar [5:30]
16. Charming the Committee [4:19]
17. A Different Mars [4:07]
18. Story Change [1:44]
19. Mission Is Over [5:11]
20. End Credits [4:31]


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Martian Child 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although it appears that the movie has modified the original story considerably, this sweet little movie is so engaging. The cast is wonderful. You can hardly go wrong with anything John and Joan Cusack appear in. The little boy is endearing and the story moves smoothly to the happy ending. No language/nudity/drug use makes this especially enjoyable (a rarity.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
MARTIAN CHILD was marketed incorrectly - that can be the major reason for its lack of success in the theatrical release. While all the multiplex theaters are overflowing with loud, coarse, raunchy, and special effects driven financial successes (with major exceptions, of course!), little meaningful and sensitive films such as this are submerged and don't last long. Should the name of the film have been different? Should the advertisements been better designed? Who knows, but for those who now have the opportunity to buy or rent MARTIAN CHILD, there is a special experience in store. Based on the novel 'The Martian Child' by David Gerrold (beautifully adapted for the screen by Seth Bass and Jonathan Tolins), Director Menno Meyjes has gathered an exceptional cast to present this story about human needs and how we all find security in the warmth of other caring beings. David (John Cusack) is a successful science fiction writer who is a widower, still grieving for his wife. His agent Jeff (Oliver Platt), his sister Liz (Joan Cusack) and his wife's best friend Harlee (Amanda Peet) aid his 'convalescence', but David feels the need for a child. When social worker Sophie (Sophie Okonedo) calls David concerning an available strange little boy Dennis (Bobby Coleman) who believes he is from the planet Mars and hides inside a box, covered with sunscreen and dark glasses, David responds: he, after all, writes science fiction and is attracted to the idea that Dennis believes he is here from Mars on a mission. Against the advice of his practical sister, David agrees to take Dennis home, feeling that he is one of the few who can relate to Dennis' behavior. Life at home is not easy, but with time David and Dennis bond and Dennis comes out of his box to become 'normal'. It is the prolonged journey on which David and Dennis embark that holds the meat of the story. Dennis has been deserted as a small child and finds security in believing he is a visiting Martian who will be 'taken home' to Mars when his mission to understand human beings is complete. David's persistent parenting (quoting Churchill's 'Never ever, ever ,ever, ever, ever give up'), while tested to the extreme, results in a bonding with Dennis that is heart wrenchingly beautiful. And how each of the characters' lives is changed by this extraordinary relationship brings the film to a touching close. In addition to the fine performances by both Cusacks, Peet, Platt, and Okonedo, there are brief but noteworthy cameos by Anjelica Huston and Richard Schiff among others. This is a film that makes a major statement about parenting and single parenting in particular and does so with kindness, tenderness, and sincere emotion. Please see this film. Grady Harp
merylsue10 More than 1 year ago
I like that Joan Cusack played his sister in the movie; they are very good together.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Martian child is a rarity in today's movies. It's a quiet movie. No loud explosions, car chases, no nudity, and the humor isn't raunchy. The movie is dramatic in it's quietness. Things that otherwise might fade into the background become dramatic moments, and that's good. It's the result of great actors and a great story. Martian Child is about David, a science fiction writer who chooses to adopt a little boy named Dennis who claims to be from Mars. The movie is about the relationship formed between this pair as David tries to come to terms with Dennis' issues, including his almost antisocial behavior, issues that arise from past abandonment and abuse, and Dennis tries to understand David (when the movie opens David is dealing with his own issues of still coming to terms with the death of his wife two years earlier). Through a strange series of events, this boy and this man come to love each other as father and son.
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