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THE REEL: 'Instant Family' is a feel-good movie

Wednesday March 13 2019

A screen grab shot of the movie 'Instant Family'. PHOTO| COURTESY YOUTUBE

A screen grab shot of the movie 'Instant Family'. PHOTO| COURTESY YOUTUBE 

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Instant Family(2018) is a heart-warming movie based on a true story that is guaranteed to hit you right in your feels.

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne and the wonderful Octavia Spencer amongst others, the movie tells the true story of a couple Pete and Ellie Wagner who adopt three siblings, hence the title of the movie.

The comedy drama is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual material, language and some drug references.

In the movie, the couple do not seriously discuss about having children amongst themselves.

The wife, Ellie played by Rose Byrne, wants children but the husband Pete played by Mark Wahlberg isn’t too sure about it.

However, once he takes a look at the adorable photos of children on the adoption website, he is quickly sold on the idea.


The movie gives a glimpse of the serious side of adoption.

The training that couples or people intending to adopt go through, the vetting that decides whether or not they should be allowed to adopt.

Just because the children are needy and in need of a good home, it doesn’t mean they will be handed over to just about anyone.

There are systems and procedures in place to ensure that the children end up with the right family.

The siblings in the movie, Lizzi, played by Isabela Moner, Juan played by Gustavo Quiroz Jr and the adorable Lita played by Julianna Gamiz are in the foster care system because their mother is a drug addict and cannot provide or care for them.

The children have learnt to take care of themselves and the eldest Lizzi is the protector. She is very guarded and doesn’t trust anyone easily.

The middle child Juan is a klutz and the last born Lita will melt your heart with her sassy ways.

Pete is funny and loving and supportive as a husband. He makes many hilarious goofs especially during the vetting period.

Ellie is cautious and seems to be the more adult of the two. She realises all too well the enormous responsibility that they are undertaking and doesn’t wish to romanticise it.

She wants to provide structure, discipline and boundaries for the children.


The social workers played by a blunt speaking Octavia Spencer as Karen and her colleague Sharon played by Tig Notaro prepare the adoptive parents for their new roles in the most hilarious ways.

When I watch a movie based on a true story, I’m always eager for the end, because I get to see the real life pictures and story of the people who inspired the movie.

These types of movies are especially moving because of the actions and lives behind them. Real life as they say, is always better than fiction.

This is a story that needed to be told. Real heroes are ordinary people who take extraordinary actions.