Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Storks Adoption Movie Review
Where do babies come from? Well, they used to be manufactured and delivered by a company of storks. For years, families eagerly watched for and greeted these white-winged carriers. It all changed when, for the first time, a stork did not successfully deliver the baby. A story is told that, eighteen years ago, a stork failed to deliver the baby because her beacon broke. It is said that he fell in love with her and tried to keep her for his own. Each baby has a homing device to guide the stork to their intended parents, but this baby’s device was broken. The stork went into exile, and the baby was raised by the storks. They have named her “Orphan Tulip,” although she corrects one of them and says that she would prefer being called just Tulip; “Orphan hurts my heart.” The storks have switched from delivering babies to delivering packages, and Tulip is one of their least successful employees. In order to secure a promotion, Junior has to fire her. He does not have the heart to do it, though; the storks have been Tulip’s family, and getting fired would also mean getting sent away. Junior secretly sends her to work in the vacated mailroom, believing that she will not be able to cause any damage there. However, a letter finds its way to her, and Tulip inadvertently restarts the baby-manufacturing machine. Now, with a baby born, Junior and Tulip set off to deliver it to its new family. Junior knows that if the big boss finds out that Tulip wasn’t fired, or that a baby was made, Junior will not get his promotion.
Meanwhile, a young boy wishes for a sibling and has to convince his too-busy realtor parents to spend time with him; in catching his excitement for a baby, they also start to appreciate him.
** SPOILERS AHEAD THE REST OF THE WAY**
The Adoption Connection
Storks used to deliver babies, but stopped because one stork didn’t deliver his assigned baby to her home. This baby, Tulip, has been raised among storks and now, at age 18, she confides in a friend that she still hopes to find her parents. In fact, she has been working towards finding them for a long time. She’s even built a plane to help her in her quest. When she learns that she can find them, she tells her stork friend, Junior, how happy she is to be able to meet her “real family,” and her choice of words deeply hurts Junior, who expresses that he felt he was part of her real family.
Junior and Tulip must deliver a new baby to its waiting family. The baby was created when a boy wrote to the storks asking for a new sibling, but now the aspiring parents and brother all have gotten excited in the hopes of welcoming their new family member. Junior and Tulip come to love the baby during their journey, suffering through sleepless nights and reveling in her laughter; when they finally arrive at the baby’s home, they hand her over. In a way, they served as foster parents to the baby, keeping her safe until she was able to get to her permanent home.
Tulip eventually meets her biological family. They all look like her, and the family swarms her with a warm group hug. Junior initially stays in the distance, but he is embraced by her family as well.
We also learn that, contrary to the widely-told story, Tulip’s stork has been trying all this time to find a way to get her to her family. He is able to share in her joy as she finally finds her folks.
Tulip seems to love the storks, but also complains that she feels like she does not fit in anywhere. She has bonded with a few other flightless birds in the storks’ headquarters, and together they try to develop a way to fly.
Tulip gives the baby a name, even though Junior initially tells her not to.
Tulip believes that she may have sacrificed her ability to find her parents in order to help the new baby find its parents. She says that if the baby finds its parents, it will have been worth it.
It is easy to name several characters who fell in love with the baby during the course of the movie. It is important for kids to know that they are loved. The film captures the fact that babies are longed for and celebrated, and that kids are worth spending time with.
When Junior understands how important it is to Tulip that she finds her parents, he reassures her that she will find them.
Some kids might be bothered by the thought that a child grew up without her parents simply because she got lost along the way. Later, Junior suggests that he does not need to deliver the baby to her “actual parents” because she’s already found a family that cares about her. He explains that babies “don’t know the difference because they’re dumb.”
The big boss seems uncaring; he speaks of firing Tulip and “liberating” her away from the only family she has ever known. He also devises a plan to reroute the new baby away from its intended parents, to instead be raised in hiding by some birds; this is to ensure that the storks do not re-enter the baby-delivery business. There is a swerve where, just when it seems that the baby will be delivered to its parents, it is revealed that the abduction plot has been successful. This could be triggering for some kids.
While Junior and Tulip are delivering the new baby, a scary figure lurks in the shadows, repeating “my baby.” It’s intended to be comical, and later we understand that the figure only seemed scary but did not intend harm; but young kids with fears of abduction might find it frightening.
A pack of wolves briefly intends to eat the baby.
A couple times, comments are made which suggest that babies ruin parents’ lives. The characters are wrong, even within the world of the movie, but kids might catch what the characters say without noticing that the characters are incorrect.
I think Storks is intended to be a light, heartwarming picture about the warmhearted storks who deliver babies to eagerly-waiting parents. The storks lost their vision, but eventually regain it through a serious of mishaps. Most viewers will probably receive it that way. For families that are touched by adoption, though, there are some scenes which could be challenging. A few scenes could trigger fears of abduction, others could brush up against unresolved loss, unanswered questions about families of origin, and confusion about family formation. I do like that Tulip is supported in her desire to find her intended family, and that when she finds them, they embrace her and the stork to whom she is closest.
Storks is probably a good fit for kids ages 7 and up in most cases, but foster or adoptive parents should watch the movie first, and if you decide to share it with your kids, you might want to talk with your kids about their adoption or foster care story before sharing the film with them. Storks will probably raise some questions that your kids might not know to ask, so parents would also want to take the lead on checking in with their kids post-movie.
Questions for Discussion
What makes a family, a family?
Do you know the story of how you came to be a part of this family? (How about how each member became a part of the family?)
Have you ever wished for a sibling? What is the best part of having a sibling? What are the hard parts?
What life do you wish for your kids?