Parents' Guide to

Rain Beau's End

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Melodramatic adoption drama has strong language, violence.

Movie NR 2021 117 minutes
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Despite fine performances, this melodrama suffers from the visible absence of the titular character -- the son whose identity and behavior are never witnessed first-hand. The decision to keep Rain Beau off camera starts out as a curiosity (the 4-year-old can be heard crying but isn't shown), letting director Tracy Wren focus on the parents' reactions. The problem is that it's difficult to believe Rain Beau even exists, because as he grows, he's never spotted, and he's only heard from twice in the entire film. It ends up feeling like a gimmick without any payoff, and it distances audiences from the empathy the two mothers desperately want others to have for their son. Powell and Snow do a good job with the roles as written by Jennifer Cooney, but without seeing Rain Beau at the different stages of his life, it's difficult to connect to his story.

Sean Young stands out as Hannah's colleague, Nat, who gives straightforward advice and initially agrees to bring her young nephew (also unseen) to play with Rain Beau. Jules, meanwhile, has a close friend, Kris (Halena Keys), who encourages her not to lose her own identity as she parents. Not much actually happens until a melodramatic twist in the third act, so every time the movie fast forwards a few years, it's more of the same -- the therapists, the principal, and the moms all discussing how hard it is for Rain Beau to manage his anger. (Given all the time jumping, it's notably odd that Hannah is aged via makeup and hair, but Jules barely does.) As a character study of partners parenting a special-needs child, the movie had potential, but it never rises above the melodramatic plot developments and the dissonance of Rain Beau's absence.

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