Directed by Jeanne Herry
Little baby Theo, barely a day old is thrown into the arms of the Child Welfare Services. With a troubled start and an uncertain future, we go on a journey through the adoption process, encountering the driven individuals helping Theo through troubles times, as well as the ones who’s lives he has yet to grace.
This film could not have come at a better time in my life. Becoming a father five months ago has been one of the most fantastic and rewarding experiences of my life. Yet to think others cannot experience these moments as easily I have is devastating. I have never watched a film that demonstrates the foster and adoption process so well, in a way that is both overwhelmingly touching and eye opening. It truly makes you sit back and appreciate what you have and what a blessing it is to bring life into this world, whether it be from your own body or welcoming a lost soul into a loving home.
In Safe Hands is honestly captivating to watch. Taking you step by step through the stages leading up to adoption is fascinating, regardless of how beautiful little Theo’s story is. We encounter various cases unrelated to the main story along the way, feeling every emotion for the ‘soon to be’ or ‘unfit to adopt’ parents, grasping ever so slightly the plethora of emotion they must be feeling in these daunting moments. But Theo’s story is remarkable. From poignant rock bottoms, to the delightful sky highs, every moment is touching and authentic.
We are introduced to a range of wonderfully written characters, each as fascinating as the rest. The staff at the adoption agency, passionate and driven to find a fitting and loving home for Theo. Unwavering in their pursuit for perfection and adamant that all are satisfied with his health and well-being. But two characters ultimately stood out for me and brought so much to their roles. Élodie Bouchez as Alice and Gilles Lellouche as Jean.
Alice, who is unable to have children herself, is unshakable in her pursuit to adopt a child. Fearing she will lose her opportunity and desperate to succeed, she promises to take on any child, no matter their age or physical health. Bouchez is mesmerising; her emotion is read with every slight facial expression or hand gesture. I was rooting for her from the off and genuinely ecstatic for every success she had.
Jean is Theo’s foster parent. Passionate and relentless, it is obvious he takes his role very seriously, which sometimes means he can care too much. Jean is a true hero to Theo. His dedication runs deep and every fibre of his being wants and needs the children he takes on to succeed, no matter the effect it is having on his mental state. Lellouche is enthralling in every scene he has, we can see every drop of emotion in his eyes and the huge amount of pride he has in his smile.
When we get to our closing scenes and Theo’s inevitable adoption, I was overwhelmed. The emotional journey I had made with him and his co-stars paid off in droves. It is not just a credit to the world of film, but also a heartfelt nod to the Child Welfare Services and the hard work they put into every child and their future. Watery eyed and smiling ear to ear, it was safe to say that In Safe Hands is a monumental film to behold.