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  • jfgibson7311 February 2017
    The Great Gilly Hopkins is a beautiful, touching film that should have gotten more attention. Although a wonderful family film, I would guess it will get seen most in middle school classrooms doing a study on the book, which it follows very closely. It's not without some rough edges- -there is some language and behavior that may not be to every parent's liking, but I appreciated that it made an effort to show how a real person might react in her situation. I will say the book told this story more effectively--several scenes had more impact as written, and I felt a much greater sense of urgency in the final scene of the book than I did watching the film. Even so, I think that it's a story that will hook viewers in and keep them invested right to the end. Without being manipulative or delving into false sentiment, The Great Gilly Hopkins made me care about its characters and had me choked up more than once before it was through.
  • Salim0813 October 2016
    If you're looking for a movie to watch with your family, then this is the one. The Great Gilly Hopkins is an entertaining family movie for both adults & kids. With its dramatic & funny moments, it teaches the audience the importance of relationships, and what it takes to form a real family. The movie focuses on the life of Gilly Hopkins, a foster kid who's in a journey to find her real family, moving from a foster home to another, in search for her biological mother. That's until she meets her new foster mother, Maime Trotter, then her relationship with people in that community, from family members to teachers & friends, evolves with time into friendship, respect, and compassion. She ends up finding what she was always looking for, after learning that it takes love, esteem, and care to form a real family.

    My only complaint about this movie is that the story lacked depth, and the events were too straightforward. Overall, it was above average. So if you're looking for something entertaining & simple, then this is it.
  • "Both of us are smart and we know it. But the thing that brings us closer than intelligence is anger."

    Ready for another corny teen drama that'll move you to tears? One that has all the familiar clichés and where you'll know in advance how it will end? It's not a love story with a couple of lovebirds who first can't stand each other and in the end, in a moment of supreme bliss, they fall into each other's arms. It's also not a well-known story about a young criminal who's experiencing a drastic change of identity due to a certain trustworthy person and when he's converted he goes on a mission as a devout priest in poor Africa. No. This time it's a stubborn 12 year old girl (Sophie Nélisse) who changes foster homes one after the other because of her impossible behavior. Gilly Hopkins only has one wish. And that's to be reunited with her natural mother who left her behind while moving to San Francisco.

    Then one day she's assigned to the religious Maime Trotter (Kathy Bates), who's a model of kindness and masquerades as the supreme mother-hen. Gilly does everything to come across as hateful and impossible to handle. She closes herself off, disclaims each friendly treatment, she treats W.E. (Zachary Hernandez) in a denigrating way, imitates in a ridiculing manner Maime's use of affectionate words, makes no effort to integrate and even steals from the nice neighbor Mr. Randolph (Bill Cobbs). In school she tries to keep up this rebellious attitude. The first school day ends already in a fight with six fellow students, she snubs at a young girl (Clare Foley as Agnes) who approached her in a friendly way and she acts aloof during lessons. It seems as if Gilly is trying to provoke with her behavior so everybody gets angry at her.

    You could call her an obnoxious, disrespectful and rebellious teenage girl, to say the least. It amazes me that Kathy Bates hasn't tied her to a bed, pushed some logs under her legs and just like in "Misery" amputated her feet with a heavy ax. Despite Gilly's intense efforts to make Maime's (and others) life miserable, you can easily guess how she'll react when her wealthy grandmother Nonie Hopkins (Glenn Close) shows up and suggests to take care of her. That's the decisive moment when the rebellious girl breaks down emotionally and proves that deep down she truly has a human, sensitive heart. For most female viewers this is the right time to search for that handkerchief.

    Although it's clearly a film meant for a youthful audience, I wasn't annoyed by it constantly. The way Gilly tackled the bullies at school was highly amusing. And the used subject about a teenager who wants to be united again with her natural mother (the mother's motivation to leave her, shows that she didn't have real maternal feelings) felt kind of mature. Maybe it was sort of Dickension, but I could live with that. Also, the performances were very worthwhile. Kathy Bates played a brilliant part as the caring foster mother who sees the good in every person. Her love for the outcasts in our society is endless. Therefore the goodness to invite the lonely neighbor to dinner every day. Also a splendid rendition of Bill Cobbs. Finally, Sophie Nélisse who nevertheless delivers a superb performance. Although she doesn't look 12 and isn't really sympathetic due to her behavior. The only thing that struck me was her rather rapid change of personality. The transformation from a rebel to a loving teenager was rather abrupt. "The Great Gilly Hopkins" is a perfect family film to watch together with your (older) kids.

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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Main Storyline

    Gilly (Sophie Nélisse) for a good portion of her life has gone from foster home to foster home due to her attitude. Now though she is with Ms. Trotter (Kathy Bates) and her new brother William Earnest, or W.E (Zachary Hernandez) for short. Both of them are nice, though W.E. is a bit shy, and they try to be welcoming. However, what Gilly wants is her mother to whisk her away and take her to wherever she is.

    Highlights

    It Grows on you: When we meet Gilly, I swear to you I was hoping Ms. Trotter was a "spare the rod spoil the child" type of Christian because the girl was asking to be slapped. She would pick with W.E., who seemingly came from an abusive home, she would make fun of the way Ms. Trotter talks, and let's not even go into how she treated others outside her home. Between stealing, damn near calling someone the N word to get a rise out of them, and fighting, she was a terror.

    However, after a certain point, she mellows out. She defends W.E., starts to get close to him, and even becomes friendly to this lonely girl at her school named Agnes (Clare Foley). Someone who seems so desperate for a friend she'd take Gilly's verbal abuse over the silence of being alone. With the transformation, you see the strength of the story and Nélisse's abilities as an actress. For even as Gilly mellows out, she still remains this sarcastic little brat. It is just she becomes a lovable one.

    Even When It Shifts Focus It Stays Good: As Ms. Trotter implies, life is tough but there is nothing like doing good on a tough job. Which is what Gilly has to go through as she is introduced to Nonnie (Glenn Close), her maternal grandmother. With this shift, you may think that a happy ending may come and it will all be a fairy tale. Alas, Katherine Paterson, who some may recognize as the writer of Bridge to Terabithia, isn't the type who does happy endings and avoids serious personal tragedies just because the focus is on children. No. All I'm going to say is expect to cry multiple times in this film if you are as sensitive as I am.

    On The Fence

    The Life of W.E.: Quite honestly Mr. Hernandez could have stolen this movie from under everyone's nose if he wanted to. Nevermind he knows how to play up his cuteness, but being that we are told he came from an abusive environment, he plays to that backstory so well. Almost to the point, even though you'd probably end up dehydrated from crying, you kind of wish his story was told to us a bit more. Like Gilly finding his file or something.

    Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)

    Forewarning: Gilly at first will be such a piece of work you may think this movie isn't worth it. However, as she begins to get close to people and starts opening up, oh she touches your heart. Especially as she bonds with W.E., this man named Mr. Randolph (Bill Cobbs) and even her grandmother. To the point, you will probably be fighting tears from how beautiful her transformation is. Especially as you start to learn about not just her, but these people around her and the struggles they have themselves with loss and other things. To the point that, at times, you almost wish when it came to Disney, Nickelodeon, and other networks which have kids entertainment, they would feature material like this. In a way, Girl Meets World does do that, but not as masterfully, and likely as consistently, as I feel something written by Katherine Paterson could.
  • It's 2/10/19 and I can't believe I never saw this movie until today. I love Kathy Bates as an actress but this character as Trotter is expressed as the epitome of love and giving in an unselfish way, I want to wrap her in a box and take her home with me. Bravo to Ms. Bate's ability as an actress to express the debth of the character. This movie grabs at your heartstrings and keeps you wrapped up so tight until all the love in the world explodes when the bow is untied. I cried like a baby and felt that this is what life is all about, unselfish love. Great movie, great script, great acting and just a perfect movie.
  • I must say I was drawn in by the stellar cast of A-list actors from Kathy Bates and Ovtavia Spencer and Glenn Close who I haven't seen much of the last 20 years. Did not know who the lead actress Sophie Nelisse was but she was outstanding too. It was a tear-jerker for sure, from about the mid-point to the end, I was in tears and at times almost choked up with emotion. I highly recommend this movie for any family to watch as it deals with many issues of growing up, acceptance and rejection and ultimately seeing the value of family and friends. It's really all we have as human-beings and defines who we are ultimately.
  • This is an involving story that is defiantly worth watching. Even though it was a long time ago when I was a teen this movie was still captivating and surprising.

    At first I was expecting Gilly's character to be more obnoxious, but she turns out to be a fairly normal child with just a smattering of issues. At this point I thought I knew where the move was going, but it throws in a few surprises, which I won't disclose.

    Whilst it never really breaks free of the "bad person turned good" mold the move is well acted and well cast, it manages to stay involving and keep my interest and was quite moving in places.

    Maybe not a classic, but not a waste of time either. I would watch it again.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    My wife and I watched this at home on Netflix streaming. It is a pleasant and entertaining movie about a bright teenage girl who is mad at the world because she remains separated from her mother.

    We don't get much of a backstory but Sophie Nélisse as Gilly Hopkins has been in a series of foster homes. She is very bright but angry because she feels the system is keeping her away from her mother. So she resists new friendships and learns ways to manipulate teachers and other authority figures. She also hates to see boys acting as bullies and can quickly kick and punch them into submission. Which she apparently has done on numerous occasions.

    We pick up the story when she is placed with Kathy Bates as Maime Trotter who never backs away from a challenge.

    After a series of learning experiences quite accidentally Gilly finds an address "last known address for her mother Courtney" (Julia Stiles) and writes a letter to that address. She explains how she is living with a religious fanatic who makes her do chores all the time and strangers come and go all night making it impossible to do her homework. It was all a lie, designed to get her out of there and with her mother. Instead it comes to the attention of her grandmother, Glenn Close as Nonnie Hopkins, and the system places Gilly with her grandmother.

    The coming-of-age moment for Gilly was when her mother showed up but it was clear after a minute that she didn't really want to be there, she had no interest in a relationship with her daughter. Gilly found herself wanting to be back with Trotter, realizing it was the only "home" she ever had. In the end Gilly, Trotter, Nonnie, and a few others learn how to make "family" where you have it.

    Good movie, first-rate acting.
  • If you are in the mood for something other than action or suspense; if you're tired of feeling like you're being condescended to or studying an ideology; if you're in the mood to let a movie take you somewhere good, smile a little, then this is a good movie to give you a rest from Hollywood.

    Cheesy movie, sure. But quite nicely done. Kudos to the cast, to Kathy Bates and especially to the director.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Kathy Bates is one of my favorite actresses. She's so authentic in every role I've seen her play. Glenn Close, though a small part, was equally believable and played her role well. Sophie Nelisse played the bad girl role and her transformation was nearly believable. The message of this movie hit me about half way through. What you want might not be better than what you have. Only two real criticisms - most of the film was believable less these two things: One was the miraculous transformation of Gilly, and the other was the total indifference of her mother.
  • Galadriel 'Gilly' Hopkins (Sophie Nélisse) is a bitter, smart foster kid. Her social worker Ellis warns her that this is her last chance before forced into a group institution. Her new foster mother Maime Trotter (Kathy Bates) is just as tough caring for troubled W.E. and blind neighbor Mr. Randolph (Bill Cobbs). Gilly gets into trouble at school right away. She rebels against her teacher Miss Harris (Octavia Spencer). Agnes is desperate to be her friend. She gets a postcard from her mother Courtney Hopkins (Julia Stiles) and dreams of reuniting with her. She writes to her grandmother Nonnie Hopkins (Glenn Close) lying about Maime Trotter in hopes of moving in with her mother in California. She even tries to run away.

    There are bits and pieces of humor. There are other bits and pieces of a heartfelt touching story. The lead Sophie Nélisse is a fine young actress. It's nice to see her continue after great work as a child actress in Monsieur Lazhar. This movie is populated by great actors. There are nicely-drawn characters and then the movie hits a speed bump. It may work for the book but it doesn't necessarily work as a movie. The audience has build up capital with these characters and they need to be around visually to reap the profits. The last act is fine but it feels emotionally empty when none of the earlier characters are around.
  • An afternoon session movie, but cool, has a footprint, even though it is simple, the performances involve and in fact has an enviable team of actors, and the new ones, act the height. A good drama of children left in society, some who must be ordinary, unprepared for parenthood, can not hold, keep, and educate their offspring.

    But a film of overcoming, where we see the good and win is always good, it is always good to see films that we have won the chaos. It's good to win, I always like it, I always want happy endings, I always thank that, even if we do not have it and it's not so, at least at our leisure we can dream and have the best time !!!

    Well, that's it, I liked it
  • This really is a good movie for the entire family when a flare for the dramatic is appreciated. The script is well written and directed. It's always a pleasure to watch Kathy Bates do her thing as she lights up the screen once again with a brilliant performance. Bill Cobbs didn't disappoint as this role seemed tailor made for him. Octavia Spencer, Julia Stiles, and Glenn Close as well as the rest of the cast did a terrific job--Bravo! I look forward to seeing more in the future from Zachary Hernandez, Clare Foley, and Sophie Ne'lisse. This part played by Sophie Ne'lisse was very impressive. Great job by this up and coming actress.
  • Gilly Hopkins has bounced from foster home to foster home, which has turned into someone with a callous shell that no one has dared to break through. Are Mamie & W.E. the ones who will crack Gilly? All Gilly wants is to be with her mother, but her mother seems to want nothing to do with her. Fantastic family movie! Bonus points look for the author of the book to have a cameo in the bus station scene as they clerk in the shop!