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Raising Helen

Where to Watch Raising Helen

PG-13
2004

Raising Helen is an engaging 2004 comedy-drama film directed by Garry Marshall who always has a unique touch for making family movies likePretty Woman, The Princess Diaries, Runaway Bride, among others. It stars prominent Hollywood actors including Kate Hudson, John Corbett, and Joan Cusack, and it's a film that counts on its performances to truly engage in its storytelling.

In the film, Kate Hudson plays the part of Helen Harris, a successful model scout for a New York agency. Helen's career-oriented lifestyle involves glamorous parties, ambitious boyfriends and fashion shows. This lifestyle, however, takes a cataclysmic turn when her oldest sister and brother-in-law both pass away in a tragic car accident.

The film begins to pivot as Helen unexpectedly becomes the designated guardian for her late sister's three kids. The plot thickens when the will stipulates Helen, the youngest and most immature of the three sisters, as their legal guardian over the more sensible, responsible, oldest sister, played by the exceptional Joan Cusack.

Helen’s transition from a high-flying fashionista to an unprepared and overwhelmed guardian forms the crux of the movie. She must navigate through the difficulties of parenting while trying to maintain her career and personal life. The emotional touchstones of the movie, finding common ground, the push and pull of independence and dependence, Helen's missteps towards responsible parenting and a material change in her work-driven lifestyle, provide the audience an intriguing process to follow.

Against a backdrop of stresses and strains born from her new household responsibilities, we find Helen developing feelings for a Lutheran pastor who functions as the school principal named Pastor Dan, not-so subtly portrayed by the charming John Corbett. The nervous energy and budding romance between Hudson and Corbett adds a delightful romantic edge to the film. He serves as a moral anchor and emotional support to Helen adjusting to her improbable circumstances, pushing her towards familial responsibilities while handling his attraction towards her.

Joan Cusack puts forward a stellar performance as Jenny, Helen’s older sister, who petulantly can't understand why she, a well-married, more mature woman, is not chosen over Helen as guardian. Feeling overshadowed by her younger sister, she nevertheless rallies round to offer plenty of sisterly love and support.

The subplot of life's curveballs and self-discovery is perfectly knitted into the story. The movie embodies Marshall's signature approach in delivering multi-layered family dramas with realistic characters and life lessons. It’s a film that ‘raises’ both laughter and tears and plenty of heartfelt moments.

Raising Helen is a beautifully balanced recipe of emotional depth, humor, romance, and family dynamics. Hudson shines as the reluctant-and-then-determined guardian, her beauty and talent attracting an audience of all ages. Corbett's charismatic portrayal as a well-meaning and likable pastor is equally entrancing. Joan Cusack excels in her role as the well-structured older sister, adding another layer to the hardened exterior with her humor and subtle hints of vulnerability.

The supporting cast includes Hayden Panettiere and Spencer Breslin, who put forth natural and persuasive performances as the eldest kids navigating their way through their new circumstances after losing their parents. Helen Mirren, in a minor role as Hudson's stern boss, is a scene-stealer who brings an extra dose of wit and power to the story.

In a nutshell, Raising Helen is an emotional rollercoaster, showcasing the struggles, transformations, and self-discoveries of characters faced with unexpected circumstances. It does an excellent job of not only tickling your funny bone but also tugs at your heartstrings—reminding us about the importance of family, love, and stepping up when life throws you a surprise.

This comedy-drama does have something for everyone—be it laughter, tears, or a feel-good vibe all through, thus serving up an engaging cinematic experience. The film proves once again that family dramas sprinkled with a hint of romance and a dash of comedy can go a long way in winning the audiences' hearts! If you love feel-good family dramas or are a fan of any of the lead actors, Raising Helen is a must-watch.

Raising Helen is a Drama, Comedy, Romance movie released in 2004. It has a runtime of 119 min. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.0. It also holds a MetaScore of 38.

How to Watch Raising Helen

Where can I stream Raising Helen movie online? Raising Helen is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon, Google Play. Some platforms allow you to rent Raising Helen for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

6.0/10
38/100
Director
Garry Marshall
Stars
Kate Hudson, John Corbett, Joan Cusack, Hayden Panettiere, Spencer Breslin, Abigail Breslin, Helen Mirren
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