The subject of adult adoption is one that rarely (if ever) crops up in cinema. However, playwright-turned-screenwriter Ellie Moon navigates this topic with compassion and care in her writing debut, Adult Adoption (which is directed by Karen Knox). Moon stars as Rosy, a 25-year-old who has “aged out” of the foster care system. She’s managed to build a stable life for herself after turning 18: she has her own apartment and a job at a bank, but she is lonely and desperately seeks familial love to fill a gaping void in her life. When a work friend (Leah Doz) informs her about an adult adoption website, Rosy leaps at the chance and starts meeting older adults hoping for a potential match. However, the search for love and family isn’t as easy as she imagined.
Moon expertly navigates many complex issues in her screenplay, ranging from dependency and depression to the exploitative and dissociative aspects of online dating, all of which are handled with subtlety and filled with little, human touches that give viewers a tangible connection to Rosy’s story. Likewise, Moon’s performance is in keeping with the low-key presentation of the feature. The actor resists the temptation to overstate her character’s trauma and desperation, even in the more intense scenes. Combined with the deep-cutting dialogue between the characters, Moon has crafted a brutally honest realisation of difficult situation.
However, even a screenplay as thoughtful and nuanced as this isn’t without its issues. Aside from an ear-grating soundtrack of auto-tuned bubblegum pop, there are sections of the plot that feel out of place and underdeveloped. One such instance is a subplot involving an old friend and a possible cult that slowly transpires. The purpose of its inclusion is to help Rosy in overcoming her own problems, but by having only a small slice of time allotted to it, its resolution is anti-climactic.
Despite its flaws and rough presentation, Adult Adoption nevertheless remains a thoughtful examination of loneliness, family and the search for a different kind of love in the modern age.
Adult Adoption does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Glasgow Film Festival 2022 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Glasgow Film Festival website here.