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Raising Helen (DVD)

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8 Reviews

Genre: Comedy / Theatrical Release: 2004 / Director: Garry Marshall / Actors: Kate Hudson, John Corbett ... / DVD released 27 December, 2004 at Touchstone Home Video / Features of the DVD: PAL

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    8 Reviews
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      18.11.2013 22:29
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      An alright family movie.

      - Story -

      A young adult (Helen) is shocked to discover she's been instructed to look after her sister and brother in laws children after they die suddenly in an accident. She doesn't have kids and isn't sure how to take on this sudden extra responsibility, one that annoys her other sister Jenny who has looked after quite a few children herself, so she can't understand why Helen has been selected as their legal guardian. Helen agrees to give it a go but can she cope? you'll have to watch the movie to find out.


      - Thoughts & Opinions -

      * Below are what could be seen as one or two fairly minor spoilers - avoid this section if this might annoy you. Its very hard to review such a movie without giving hints or explaining elements of the story, though I don't think anything I mention should really ruin the movie for you but I prefer to add a warning like this to some reviews when I think it applies most, just to be on the safe side*.

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      Raising Helen is a rather heart warming family story that offers a few laughs primarily in the form of sentimental 'aww, cute' type moments. Its quite 'bright and breezy' as it were, with likeable characters and a story that while not entirely gripping or fast as such, it moves at enough of a rate to keep you watching.

      I thought the story was in part rather predictable, especially with the romantic slant with the school pastor but then some people probably like that in movies such as this when you know roughly what your getting, with it being quite a girly movie, a light romantic comedy for the most part but otherwise mainly a movie about family for most of the family (it carries a PG rating although there's little to offend or scare children, thats probably due to the death related theme which could perhaps upset young children), sometimes its nice to sit down and watch a movie that you know won't offend and that won't tax your brain - its an easy watch basically. I guess you could say that its a movie about discovering strength, self doubt and re-adjustment, although all in quite a sentimental, light way, if that makes sense(?).

      There's a good cast present with some big names apart from the lead character Helen played by Kate Hudson, including Joan Cusack who plays Helens sister Jennifer (aka Jenny), Helen Mirren as Dominique (another relative I think) and Hayden Paneittere (more well known as having played a key character in the first season of the cult drama series Heroes) as the eldest child, teenage daughter Audrey, who is reluctant and hesitant about aunt Helen taking over in mum role and thus acts out, distancing herself. Helen is tested by her behaviour, ultimately turning to Jenny for guidance as she doesn't feel it right for her to interfere in Audrey's life in some ways (feeling it would be somewhat hypocritical given her past), again re-inforcing the message about the importance of family supporting each other over all else and how family can come together in challenging times, 'family can conquer all' almost, I suppose (cheesy I know but I suppose thats roughly correct).

      There are some noteably tender moments with the youngest daughter as well, when Helen has to learn to visualise their late mum and think what would she do? to show she can relate and take over in teaching some basic things.

      Its also true to say that this is a movie about how things can change in a moment, which is highlighted by the scene in which Helen takes the phone call in which she's informed of the deaths, which was previously, until that moment, a fun, jovial social situation.

      I found the scenes involving Helen flirting with the Lutheran school head pastor to be a bit too cheesy, or as I like to say cringeworthy. Its a bit 'airy fairy' as my mum would probably say but then thats not always such a bad thing I suppose. Its quite funny when she tries a bit too hard to convince him that her and the children are authentic Lutheran Christians, which is something British parents can no doubt relate to, trying to get their children enrolled in better private, often religious schools, preferring that than the rather more run down local public schools which may lead to children or teenagers mixing with what would be seen as the wrong crowd.


      - Would I Recommend It? -

      As a light comedy/drama movie, I suppose its alright, its not particularly awful or really good, its ok. I'm not sure if I would outrightly recommend it as such but its unlikely to be a movie that you'd walk away feeling seriously disappointed with, neither is it likely to stick in your mind or be seen as particularly clever, it doesn't cover any new ground and is if anything a bit predictable but then for the kind of movie it is, thats possibly seen as a good thing for a change (if you like a movie where you have a good idea of roughly what your going to see before you put it on, if you know what I mean?). Its alright but no great shakes as it were, so I'd probably say its only worth going out of your way to watch it if your a big fan of the cast and want to make an effort to see all their films, something like that, otherwise I'm not sure I'd say its worth paying to see, so I think I'll just go for undecided as far as the recommended question on Ciao is concerned.

      Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and thanks for any and all rates and comments.

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      02.07.2012 02:33
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      A romantic comedy with extra depth

      ~Plot~

      Helen is working her way up in the New York fashion magazine world; a career that requires dedication if you're going to get anywhere. Her world is turned upside down when her sister dies and she is given custody of 3 children who have lost their parents.

      ~Cast~
      Kate Hudson effortlessly plays the role of Helen, career girl turned mum. Her love interest, who is the children's headmaster, is played by John Corbett (Aiden from SATC), who is slick as can be. The children are a young Hayden Panettiere, and Abigail Breslin (My Sister's Keeper, Litlle Miss Sunshine) and her older but lesser known brother, Spencer Breslin. There are also small roles from Helen Mirren, Joan Cusack and Felicity Huffman.

      ~My Thoughts~

      This is a typical girly film, which I can't imagine many men enjoying. Although it's primarily a romantic comedy, as you can imagine, the film is quite touching at times and there are the sad moments you would expect considering the storyline. I really like the cast of this film, and the storyline plays out well. This film is good if you want to watch something easy going.



      ~Soundtrack~

      I can't say I thought much at all of the soundtrack to the film. A song 'Whip It' by Devo forms a minor part of the film, and there are many other songs in the film but none of them particularly noteable.


      ~Other Stuff~
      Released in: 2004
      Running Time: 119mins
      Age Certificate: PG
      Available for: £4.87 (Amazon 02/07/12)

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        15.01.2011 18:34
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        Perfect movie for a girlie night in!

        I love watching a good movie! I tend to usually go for the rom-com genre, although I quite like drama movies too. I have been watching a lot of movies recently, one of which is called Raising Helen.

        Raising Helen is an American Romantic Comedy movie starring Kate Hudson and John Corbett. The movie was released in the United Kingdom in 2004, and so it quite old now. The movie is a PG which means that it must not be viewed by children unless an adult is present. The movie runs at just under two hours. Copies of the movie are currently available to buy on DVD on Amazon for just £3.49 which I think is excellent value for money.

        In this movie: Helen is becoming quite a star in the fashion world of New York. She's soon to be promoted! But what will happen when her sister and brother-in-law are killed in a car crash and she is in charge of their three children? Watch Raising Helen to find out!

        I would consider Kate Hudson to be one of my favourite actresses, and so after enjoying a couple of her movies (How To Lose A Guy etc) I decided to give this a try. At first I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this movie, although I am happy that I did come across it, as it did turn out to be a good movie.

        I thought that the plot was different and interesting. The movie had a very sad plot, although there was something quite heart-warming and lifting about it.

        There were some great characters in this movie. My favourite was Helen. I felt so sorry for her, especially after what happened! It certainly brought her back down to earth with a bang. It makes you realise that family are the most important things in the world.

        The DVD contains a few extras including a music video. Although, my favourite part of the extras is the 'bloopers' bit. I love seeing behind the scenes of a movie as not only does it show you how the movie was made, it also allows you to see a bit of what the actors are like in real-life.

        This is a real girlie girl's film so would make a good movie to watch during a 'girls night in'.

        Thanks for reading!
        January 15th 2010
        xdonzx (also posted under xd-o-n-z-x on dooyoo)

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        15.05.2010 13:14
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        Reall shows the value of family!

        I love chick flicks. There is no denying it - The occassional bit of girly mind melting fluff really does go down a treat - and for many people, thats exactly what Raising Helen will look like; Romantic interests, adorable children and plenty of antics... But, in fact, it is so much more than this...

        Raising Helen is a Touchstone Picture, from the writers of Runaway Bride and Pretty Woman, Garry Marshall (you know you're in for a treat) and runs at about 114 minutes. Rated PG, with supposed mild sex and language references, I would say it is fine for pretty much the entire family - and pretty much the entire family will enjoy it!

        Raising Helen follows Helen Harris (played by Kate Hudson) whose glamourous lifestyle and job would be the envy of every would be fashionista career woman, brought down to earth when those late night outs and parties galour are demolished with the death of her sister - and he rather unexpected named guardianship of her three kids...

        The plot (although I won't give too much away) is centered around Helen and how she adapts to having these three kids, who go through the angst and rebellion you would anticipate from recently orphaned kids, whilst juggling her high-powered job, romantic interests from an... unusual source... and accomodating her new family. Throw into the mix a disgruntled, super-mum sister who doesn't understand the new arrangements, and the transition from the cool-aunt to the new-mum is certainly one to entertain and delight.

        However, never fear, even for the men out there this is far more than just a cheesy chick flick, the depth of relationships, romance and warm fuzzy moments are balanced out by some genuine comedy and laughter - it really is an adventure to watch!

        The stars of the show, are, of course, the stars. Kate Hudson is a delight to watch in the leading role, balancing the blonde glamourous career women with stressed-out new single parent perfectly, and she generates a real rapport with the kids throughout the movie. Similarly, John Corbett as the leading male, 'Pastor Dan', is as charming and real as ever - and I defy any women not to feel even slightly warmed by the genuine feel of him. The rest of the cast don't fail to disappoint either, with Joan Cusack playing the rather more uptight sister perfectly, her performance is a real credit to her, whilst the children - Hayden Panettiere (also seen in Heroes) as the hormone-fuelled teenage rebellion, giving a lovely performance, and creating a real relationship with Spencer (in many movies such as the Santa Claus movies) and Abigail Breslin (whos become a star in her own right, for example in Little Miss Sunshine) - real life siblings who play the younger two children, Henry and Sarah. All three generate outstanding performances, creating a real sense of childhood and perfectly complimenting the older cast! Helen Mirren also stars, as the boss and, as always delights!

        Not only are the cast a delight to watch, all delivering outstanding performances and make the movie a very enjoyable watch for all the family!

        The DVD itself boasts the usual features - Deleted Scenes, Bloopers, Commentary and a Music Video, and the cover shows Kate Hudson (as Helen) with the leading man - John Corbett.

        All in all, this is a delightful movie - just enough fluff to be lighthearted, but it does, at moment, really shed light on some serious moments and issues! I would certainly recommend this movie as a step away from gushing romances into a mood where romance is important, but motherhood and family are key!

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        12.08.2009 13:40
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        Recommended for all the family.

        I am currently off work sick and have been making my way through my DVD collection. Well I've been watching a lot of the easy watching lighthearted films that don't require much concentration. Last night I watched Raising Helen which is an American Comedy Drama directed by Garry Wilson and released in 2004.

        Plot

        Helen Harris (Kate Hudson) is a big city Executive Assistant working for a successful Modelling Agency. She is living a carefree lifestyle until she receives a phonecall from her Sister Jenny (Joan Cusack) which turns her easy going life upside down. Her other Sister Lindsay (Felicity Huffman) and Brother in Law Paul (Sean O'Brien) have been killed in a tragic accident which has left their three children 15 year old Audrey (Hayden Panetierre), 10 year old Henry (Spencer Breslin) and 5 year old Sarah (Abigail Breslin) orphans.

        The second shock that the sisters are hit by is that Helen has been left in charge of the three children. Helen is convinced she can continue with her lifestyle and also look after the children. She moves from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan to Queens into a bigger and more affordable apartment. She enrols the children into a Lutheran School where she meets Pastor Dan Parker (John Corbett) the Principal of the School.

        Unfortunately Helen soon finds that she cant continue down this path and finds herself losing her much loved job and having to work as a receptionist at a previously owned car salesroom. She is also extremely upset at the lack of faith from her sister Jenny. Helen soon realises she cant balance two lifes and must choose between the career that she loves or the children that she adores.

        Kate Hudson is one of my favourite actresses and she plays her character very well. These are the kind of roles i'm used to seeing her play in and she always comes across as a believable fun loving person. She does a great job as a up and coming career women to super cool Aunt to stressed out Mum.

        John Corbett in my opinion was an excellent choice for the part of Pastor Dan Parker. He brought sex appeal to the film which was just what it needed. And shockingly his role as a Pastor suited him down to the ground.

        I like Joan Cusack as an actress but I have to say I did not like her character at all. She spent most of the film being mad at Helen for being left in charge of the Kids. She seemed to think she has a god given right to care for the children because she is already a Mother. I personally think that just because you are not a Mother already it doesnt mean you wont make a good one one day. It brought plenty of tension to the film so I think it did what it was supposed to do.

        The Kids were great in this film, my favourite was the Sarah played by Abigail Breslin. She had a lot of emotional parts throughou the film and she played them to perfection. I couldn't imagined my 7 year old niece being able to cry on cue and continue showing this kind of emotion throughout the whole scene.

        Cast

        Helen Harris (Kate Hudson)
        Dan Parker (John Corbett)
        Jenny Portman (Joan Cusack)
        Sarah Davis (Abigail Breslin)
        Audrey Davis (Hayden Panettierre)
        Henry Davis (Spencer Breslin)
        Dominique (Helen Mirren)
        Lindsay Davis (Felicity Huffman)
        Paul Davis (Sean O'Brien)
        Martina Allegretta (Amber Valletta)
        Milma Prasad (Sakina Jaffray)

        The Special Features consist of the blooper reel which I found really funny. There was a numbr of deleted scenes which I actually watched. I did think that they cut out some really good scenes and I think the film may have benefited from some of them. Also on the special features is a music video by Liz Phair 'Extraordinary' I have never heard of her and didnt find the song to my taste.

        This film is really enjoyable, I have watched it a few times now and I am yet to get bored. It brings out alot of emotion throughout the film. I have to say it did bring tears to my eyes on a couple of occasions. The atmosphere between all the cast members was really great and fun to watch. And John Corbett was definitely one sexy Pastor.

        If your a fan of rom-com's then this is the film for you. There is everything you need, tragedy, humour, love, all the aspects of a heartwarming film. Its a lovely film to watch and isn't nearly as predictable as I thought it would be. Its also quite a long film but its one of those films that you dont notice and its finished before you know it.

        Certificate PG - contains mild sex references and language.
        Run Time 114 minutes
        Play.com £3.99

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        • More +
          20.04.2009 15:29
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          Helen is left guardian of her sisters 3 children, when the sister passes away.

          What do you do when you are left with 3 children to look after, but also enjoy the young, single life of a successful career woman?

          Helen Harros (Kate Hudson) is a well-known, big city fashion executive, whose life is turned upside down when her elder sister passes away and she is left guardian of the children. Helen is a young, bubbly, enthusiastic woman, dedicated to her career, and enjoys the nightlife and her single life. However, she soon has to learn to focus not only on her career, but also the children she is left to look after. She was once known as "super-aunt", but now has to be a dedicated mother figure. Helen's boss does not seem to be accepting the change in Helen's lifestyle very easily, and lets her go. Helen and the 3 children move to a cheaper area, where she puts them into a school and is much liked by their new headmaster. With the help of Helen's new neighbour, she finds a job.

          With the help of the new headmaster, Helen's other "more mature" sister, and her neighbour, things get a bit better and start falling in place slowly.

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            19.04.2008 17:51
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            A great story line

            If you have read my reviews by now you may have guessed that i love a chick flick and raising helen is another one that i loved.

            Starring Kate Hudson, Joan Cusack and Helen Mirren, this film is about Helen Harris a smart city women who works hard and plays harder and her life is turned upside down when her sister is killed and she is made guardian of her three children who are anything but perfect angels. Helen has to buy a new apartment, move out of the city and in the end also has to change her job as well.

            In this film you get to see the transition of Helen from the cool aunt to the mum figure where she struggles to make the right decision which is not necessarily the fun decision that the children had hope for. But as all good chick flicks she finds love in in the end and everything ends happily ever after.

            Overall a great film it will have you in tears one moment and laughing the next well worth a watch and at around a fiver its a bargin.

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              27.02.2006 21:06
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              A cute movie that is slightly too long and predictable.

              “Raising Helen” is without doubt one of those movies that women are likely to pick up and men likely to groan at: fluffy storylines, cute kids and a little bit of romance. But don’t despair yet, men amongst you, it also has some good looking women and comedy moments. There are worse things you could be doing with your time - if you are bored. And look at the brownie points you may gain with the lady in your life if you give in to watching this chick flick that has recently been released on DVD.


              ***The plot***

              The movie starts with a glimpse into the life of Helen Harris (Kate Hudson), a successful career woman at the model agency ‘Dominique’ in Manhattan. She’s got it all – the Manhattan flat, the boss’ admiration, the charme and standing to get into the most prestigious clubs in Manhattan – and the possibility of having fun with gorgeous male models.

              Helen also has two sisters, who live a much less glamourous life. Out in New Jersey live her sisters Lindsay (Felicity Huffman) and Jenny (Joan Cusack), who have settled down, found themselves husbands and started a family. In a heart warming scene of a birthday party, we are introduced to all these characters and immediately notice the contrast between the three sisters. Helen is the party-girl. At the end of the spectrum is Jenny, the up-tight and strict mother. And somewhere inbetween is Lindsay, who used to be a party-girl of sorts, but then succumbed to the quieter life.

              The contrast of personalities is quite important to the story line that follows. A little while after the birthday party, Helen receives a phone call at a working lunch and is informed that her sister Lindsay and her husband were killed in a car crash – leaving behind three children: Audrey, Henry and Sarah. The viewer immediately knows where this is going – who will take care of these children?

              After the funeral, the will is read to Helen and Jenny. In any normal world, one would expect that responsibility for the children will be left to Jenny, the responsible mother. All the more is the (predictable) “surprise” when the sisters are informed that the children have been left to Helen instead.

              This background sets up the remainder of the movie – which revolves around the struggles of Helen trying to deal with her new-found responsibilities. Can she work in a model agency and still raise three kids in her one-bedroom flat in Manhattan? Find them schools and make sure they are alright? Deal with the problems of little girls and troublesome teenagers? Will Jenny accept that Helen is raising these children? Who will help Helen along the way? I won’t give this away, as it would be revealing too much of the plot. I will say, however, that she is helped along the way by some lovely people – including Pastor Dan Parker (John Corbett) and a lovely neighbour and mother Nilma (Sakina Jaffrey).

              And maybe, just maybe, you will find out why Helen has ben entrusted with the children instead of "perfect" Jenny.


              ***My opinion***

              **Plot**

              The plot, as in many chick flicks, is simple and predictable from start to finish. There is simply nothing original to it. In addition, I found it to be a little stereotypical and discouraging. It seems to suggest to the viewers that the woman’s place is truly in the home and that a proper career and children simply do not fit together.

              If you wanted me to give this movie a categorisation, I could only call it ‘cute’ It’s not quite a romance: Although it has romantic elements to it, it is never nauseatingly cheesy. And it is not quite a comedy, even though we had a few chuckles here and there.

              I thought that the movie was just a little bit too long, but when I thought about it again, I simply could not find any scenes that could have been cut to make it shorter. In some movies, the viewer will simply say, “Just get on with it!”. I never once felt like that.

              **Characters/acting**

              The casting was very well done – all the characters had great on-screen chemistry. I especially enjoyed the chemistry between Helen and her sister Jenny. I must compliment Joan Cusack for playing an excellent mother and acting out the jealousy and disapproval she has towards “Helen” in such a believable way. In my opinion, she did the best acting in the movie.

              The chemistry between Helen and Pastor Dan Parker is perhaps not the best we have ever seen in Hollywood, but it is alright. John Corbett to me is a little bit of a wooden actor, not much going for him in that department – but one can’t help liking him. He just has such an honest and caring face. However, I never was able to form a bond with his performace that would make me care about what happened to his character.

              One of the most enjoyable performances in this movie came from a very minor character, Helen’s neighbour Nilma, who was played by Sakina Jaffrey. I cannot recall having seen her in anything else, but would hope very much to see her in more movies in the future.

              **Soundtrack**

              The soundtrack to this movie was certainly well chosen for this movie. Songs featured include: Whip it (Devo), Feels like Rain (John Hiatt), Fashion (David Bowie), Stand Back (Joan Osborne), Love like this (Mark McGrath). I would not rush out to buy it, but have to compliment the producers on having captured the moods of the movie in the music chosen.


              ***The verdict***

              I would definitely say it is worth watching, perhaps when shattered after a long week of work or on a Sunday afternoon. It’s good enough, even though it would not blow you away. I also think that it is the type of chick flick that a man could just about survive. Not worth buying the DVD, though!


              ***A man’s perspective***

              My boyfriend kindly suffered through this movie with me, so I naturally asked him what he thought. He sais he would give it a two-star rating. When I asked him whether or not he would recommend the movie, he said that there are “worse movies to watch”. In essence, he does not heartily recommend it, but he said it would make for alright viewing if you have nothing better to do.


              ***Main characters***

              - Kate Hudson: Helen Harris

              - John Corbett: Pastor Dan Parker

              - Joan Cusack: Jenny Portman

              - Hayden Panettiere: Audrey Davis

              - Spencer Breslin: Henry Davis

              - Abigail Breslin: Sarah Davis

              - Helen Mirren: Dominique

              - Sakina Jaffrey: Nilma Prasad

              - Felicity Huffman: Lindsay Davis


              ***Extras***

              - Audio commentary with director Gary Marshall, and writers Beth Rigazio, Michael Begler, and Jack Amiel who discuss the locations seen in the movie and the actors.

              - 5 deleted scenes, with an introduction from Gary Marshall.

              - 5-minute music video from Liz Phair for the song "Extraordinary".


              ***Other information***

              Rated PG
              119 minutes

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            • Product Details

              Helen's life is the one she's always dreamed of - she is at the top of her profession by day, and spends her nights in the hottest clubs. One day she receives a phone call that changes her life - her sister and brother-in-law have been killed in a car accident and she is left to bring up three children.