Jena Malone, Robert Hunger-Bühler, Emily Kuroda, Will Rogers and Blake Bloom
An adult woman puts herself up for adoption and forms a bond with the misanthropic patriarch of her adoptive family.
Adopting Audrey (originally titled Audrey, and later Porcupine) is written and directed by M. Cahill, his first feature film in nearly a decade and a half. Based on a true story, we follow Audrey, a young woman who is estranged from her family, loses her latest job and also loses her boyfriend as she struggles to pay her rent. Lacking human interaction and relying on YouTube for companionship, Audrey comes across a load of adult adoption videos that inspires her to seek an older couple who might be prepared to adopt her. What Audrey finds is an adoptive family whose dysfunction mirrors her own, allowing her to form an unlikely bond with the eccentric, uptight Otto, who is seemingly as cold as she is courteous.
It’s an interesting story that’s being tackled here by Cahill, as we try to figure not only why Audrey is looking for an older couple to adopt her, but why Sunny is aiming to take her in to her family. As the film progresses, we see that even though Audrey has this nomadic spirit, she’s also no fool either as she has a great read on people’s motivations. Whilst the story is interesting, what really excels the film is Jena Malone’s performance as Audrey, a young woman looking for a connection with something, someone, and of all people she’d have to find that connection with is older man Otto, played by the great Robert Hunger-Bühler. I enjoyed the interactions between the two and they provide the strongest moments in the film, as Audrey tries to work out how to get Otto to open up about being human instead of micro-managing every detail of life, and Otto tries to get Audrey to take more pride in tasks that she tackles in life. Malone and Hunger-Bühler have great chemistry onscreen and essentially carry a lot of this film.
Behind the lens, the film is well directed by M. Cahill, with Ethan Palmer’s cinematography a noticeable standout as well, particularly in the night scenes involving Audrey sleeping in the car. As interesting as the story is, I couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed by how the story played out certain arcs, with Audrey finding out the reason behind being adopted, to how Audrey figures out whether or not to finally come face-to-face again with her parents, and then there’s the case of just how abrupt the ending was. It goes without saying, I would’ve been interested in spending another ten to fifteen minutes between Audrey and Otto interacting with each other, and suppose in that regard the film done its job.
Adopting Audrey could arguably be too minimalistic for its own good, it’s a decent indie drama with great performances from Jenna Malone and Robert Hunger-Bühler.
ADOPTING AUDREY WILL BE AVAILABLE IN THE UK ON DIGITAL DOWNLOAD FROM THE 13TH MARCH.