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June 24, 2009

Ellen Bry: Stamford Connecticut girl makes good (again).

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Some girls just love to work. Our friend Ellen Bry, a nighttime drama television mainstay (St. Elsewhere, Dexter, Boston Legal, Monk, The Closer) for decades, and known in the LA-NYC underground as WAC?'s in-house photographer, has the lead role as Ester Hobbes, a Chicago socialite who suddenly loses everything, in The Lost & Found Family, a new Sony Pictures release. In the film, we meet a strong and spiritual woman who is surprised to learn that she has inherited just one thing from her dead businessman husband: a run-down old house in Georgia, and the turbulent foster family living in it.

Taken from the story Mrs. Hobbes' House, The Lost & Found Family is a poignant, uplifting, instructive and remarkably powerful family film set in the American South. It was filmed in Jackson, Georgia, a town between Atlanta and Macon, with a population of about 4000, in Butts County.

It is a movie for people who go to church, sing, say "golly", watch lots of TV, eat a lot, and are afraid of virtually everyone and everything all the time. It is therefore bound to be a cult classic, comforting to millions residing in the vast grayness and troubled reverie that is American Fly-Over Country.

Just joshing you.

Early in 2008, I saw a rough cut of The Lost and Found Family--then still entitled Mrs. Hobbes' House--before Sony acquired it. I recognized the people portrayed. Many Americans, including my own family, have roots that reach deeply into, say, southwestern Virginia, east Tennessee, and southern Missouri (where I've visited family my entire life), going back well over two centuries.

Later generations are still there: always hard-working and proud, sometimes devout, seldom well-to-do, and worlds away from the country club life Ester Hobbes led when her husband was alive. They often struggle to make the best life they can.

You need not be Southern, rural or devoted to any form of organized religion to be moved by Ester Hobbes' story. This film will touch every viewer with simple but forgotten verities that bind us to one another.

There are artful, and moving, performances by Ellen and her younger cast members, who include teen heartthrob Lucas Till (Walk The Line, Hannah Montana: The Movie), and Jessica Luza, a film and television actress (The Sullivan Sisters, Boston Legal) and MTV fashion host. Ellen's other movie credits include Mission Impossible 3, Deep Impact, and Bye, Bye Love.

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Posted by JD Hull at June 24, 2009 12:59 AM

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