Instant Family (Subtitled) (12A)



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Comedy (2018)
118mins US

Starring: Rose Byrne, Octavia Spencer, Isabela Moner, Mark Wahlberg, Tig Notaro
Director: Sean Anders
Writer(s): Sean Anders, John Morris
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Pete Wagner and his wife Ellie renovate tired properties. The couple seldom discuss raising children until an argument between Ellie and her sister Kim prompts a serious debate about foster parenting. Pete and Ellie undergo a training course run by sassy social workers Sharon and Karen. Once they have qualified, the Wagners offer a home to troubled 15-year-old Lizzy and her siblings: 10-year-old Juan and six-year-old Lita.

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LondonNet Film Review
Instant Family (12A)

Inspired by the experiences of writer-director Sean Anders, Instant Family is a surprisingly sweet and touching comedy drama about foster parenting, which delivers its core messages of patience and self-sacrifice with sincerity and tear-filled eyes. The opening hour of Anders's picture, co-written by John Morris, mines a steady supply of chuckles from the misadventures of a happily married couple who welcome three troubled tykes into their ordered home. Blood flows when a 10-year-old boy accidentally takes a basketball and then a baseball to his cherubic face during some athletically-focused father-son bonding. Nerves fray as the only bathroom - perfectly adequate for synchronised spouses - struggles to accommodate three additional bladders and the beauty regime of a teenage girl...

Instant Family. Copyright: 2018 Paramount Pictures. Caption: Rose Byrne as Ellie Wagner and Mark Wahlberg as Pete Wagner in Instant Family, directed by Sean Anders. Photo: Hopper Stone/SMPSP. All Rights Reserved.Anders's light touch and occasional splashes of syrupy sentiment give way to hard knocks and painful home truths in a poignant second half that promises to exhaust every handkerchief you have tucked in a pocket or sleeve. Instant Family earns its heartfelt emotional release by focusing intently on the inner turmoil of children who have been discarded and sometimes starved of affection and need someone to provide them with stability and a safe harbour from the darkness of the past.

Pete Wagner (Mark Wahlberg) and wife Ellie (Rose Byrne) renovate tired properties. The couple have never seriously discussed raising children until an argument between Ellie and her sister Kim (Allyn Rachel) prompts a serious debate about foster parenting. Pete and Ellie naively undergo a training course run by sassy social workers Sharon (Tig Notaro) and Karen (Octavia Spencer), who repeatedly hammer home the physical and emotional toll that lies ahead. "These kids will push buttons you never knew you had," they warn. Once Pete and Ellie have qualified, they offer a home to troubled 15-year-old Lizzy (Isabela Moner) and her siblings: 10-year-old Juan (Gustavo Quiroz) and six-year-old Lita (Julianna Gamiz). After a blissful honeymoon period, the Wagners clash with Lizzy, who is convinced that her drug addict mother will clean up her act and reassert her custody rights. "We've just got to accept that we made a terrible mistake and our lives are gonna suck now," observes Pete with a rueful smile. Relatives rally around the exhausted couple, including Pete's straight-talking mother (Margo Martindale), who makes child-rearing seem so effortless.

Instant Family charms by stealth. Byrne and Wahlberg possess a winning combination of cluelessness and caring, and the latter wrings genuine tears from his scenes with gifted young co-stars. Notaro and Spencer deliver pithy one-liners with expert timing, then share the film's emotional heavy-lifting as self-doubt takes a heavy toll on the Wagners' marriage. A family isn't defined by the blood flowing through its veins but by words and deeds, and in this respect, Anders's picture proudly wears its heart on its sleeve.

- Sam Cannon

Instant Family. Copyright: 2018 Paramount Pictures. Caption: Rose Byrne as Ellie Wagner and Mark Wahlberg as Pete Wagner in Instant Family, directed by Sean Anders. Photo: Hopper Stone/SMPSP. All Rights Reserved.


London Cinemas



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Rest of UK and Irish Cinemas

Listed in alphabetical order by city/place name followed by cinema name.

From Friday 15th February
To Thursday 21st February

- Altrincham, Everyman Altrincham
- Andover, Odeon Andover
- Aylesbury, Odeon Aylesbury
- Barnstaple, Central Cinema
- Basingstoke, Odeon Basingstoke
- Bath, Odeon Bath
- Belfast, Odeon Belfast
- Beverley, Parkway Cinema
- Birmingham, Everyman Birmingham
- Birmingham, Odeon Birmingham New Street
- Bootle, Odeon Liverpool Switch Island
- Bracknell, Odeon Bracknell
- Brighton, Odeon Brighton
- Bromborough, Odeon Bromborough
- Cavan Town, Odeon Cavan
- Chatham, Odeon Chatham
- Chelmsford, Odeon Chelmsford
- Cleethorpes, Parkway Cinema
- Coventry, Odeon Coventry
- Crewe, Odeon Crewe
- Derby, Odeon Derby
- Dorchester, Odeon Dorchester
- Dublin, Odeon Coolock
- Dublin, Odeon Point Village
- Dudley, Odeon Dudley Merry Hill
- Dunfermline, Odeon Dunfermline
- East Kilbride, Odeon East Kilbride
- Gateshead, Odeon Metrocentre
- Guildford, Odeon Guildford
- Hastings, Odeon Hastings
- Hereford, Odeon Hereford
- Kettering, Odeon Kettering
- Kilmarnock, Odeon Kilmarnock
- Limerick, Odeon Limerick
- Loughborough, Odeon Loughborough
- Maidstone, Odeon Maidstone
- Manchester, Odeon Trafford Centre
- Mansfield, Odeon Mansfield
- Milton Keynes, Odeon Milton Keynes Stadium
- Naas, Odeon Naas
- Norwich, Odeon Norwich
- Nuneaton, Odeon Nuneaton
- Orpington, Odeon Orpington
- Oxford, Odeon Oxford George Street
- Portlaoise, Odeon Portlaoise
- Portsmouth, Odeon Port Solent
- Preston, Odeon Preston
- Redruth, Regal Film Centre
- Salisbury, Odeon Salisbury
- Sheffield, Odeon Sheffield
- Southampton, Odeon Southampton
- Stafford, Odeon Luxe Stafford
- Stockport, The Light Cinema, Stockport
- Swadlincote, Odeon Swadlincote
- Tamworth, Odeon Tamworth
- Taunton, Odeon Taunton
- Telford, Odeon Telford
- Trowbridge, Odeon Trowbridge
- Tunbridge Wells, Odeon Tunbridge Wells
- Wallsend, Odeon Silverlink
- Walsall, The Light Cinema, Walsall
- Waterford, Odeon Waterford
- Wisbech, The Light Cinema, Wisbech
- Worcester, Odeon Worcester
- Wrexham, Odeon Wrexham
From Friday 22nd February
To Thursday 28th February

- Altrincham, Everyman Altrincham
- Antrim, Antrim Omniplex
- Arklow, Arklow Omniplex
- Armagh, Armagh Omniplex
- Ayr, Odeon Ayr
- Banbridge, Banbridge Omniplex
- Bangor, Bangor Omniplex
- Barnstaple, Central Cinema
- Basingstoke, Odeon Basingstoke
- Batley, Showcase Leeds
- Belfast, Kennedy Centre Belfast Omniplex
- Belfast, Odeon Belfast
- Birmingham, Empire Birmingham Great Park
- Bishop's Stortford, Empire Bishop's Stortford
- Blackpool, The Reel Picture
- Bootle, Odeon Liverpool Switch Island
- Borehamwood, Reel Cinema Borehamwood
- Bournemouth, Odeon Bournemouth BH2
- Bradford, Odeon Leeds-Bradford
- Bradford, The Light Cinema, Bradford
- Bridgend, Odeon Bridgend
- Bridgwater, Scott Cinemas
- Brighton, Odeon Brighton
- Bristol, Showcase Bristol Avon Meads
- Burnley, Reel Cinema Burnley
- Cambridge, The Light Cinema, Cambridge
- Cardiff, Odeon Cardiff
- Carlow, Carlow Omniplex
- Carrickfergus, Carrickfergus Omniplex
- Catterick Garrison, Empire Catterick Garrison
- Cavan Town, Odeon Cavan
- Chatham, Odeon Chatham
- Chippenham, Reel Cinema Chippenham
- Clydebank, Empire Clydebank
- Colchester, Odeon Colchester
- Coleraine, Movie House Coleraine
- Coventry, Odeon Coventry
- Crewe, Odeon Crewe
- Derby, Odeon Derby
- Derby, Showcase Derby Cinema De Lux
- Derby, Showcase Derby Foresters Park
- Dublin, Balbriggan Omniplex
- Dublin, Odeon Blanchardstown
- Dublin, Odeon Coolock
- Dublin, Odeon Point Village
- Dudley, Odeon Dudley Merry Hill
- Dudley, Showcase Dudley
- Dundee, Odeon Dundee
- Dunfermline, Odeon Dunfermline
- East Grinstead, Scott Cinemas
- Edinburgh, Odeon Edinburgh Lothian Road
- Edinburgh, Odeon Edinburgh Wester Hailes
- Epsom, Odeon Epsom
- Exmouth, Savoy
- Falmouth, Phoenix Cinema
- Fareham, Reel Cinema Fareham
- Gateshead, Odeon Metrocentre
- Gerrards Cross, Everyman Gerrards Cross
- Harrogate, Odeon Harrogate
- Hastings, Odeon Hastings
- Hereford, Odeon Hereford
- High Wycombe, Empire High Wycombe
- Hull, Odeon Hull
- Hull, Reel Cinema Hull
- Ipswich, Empire Ipswich
- Kettering, Odeon Kettering
- Kidderminster, Reel Cinema Kidderminster
- Killyconigan, Monaghan Omniplex
- Kilmarnock, Odeon Kilmarnock
- Larne, Larne Harbour Omniplex
- Leicester, Showcase Leicester Cinema De Lux
- Limerick, Limerick Omniplex
- Lisburn, Lisburn Omniplex
- Liverpool, Showcase Liverpool
- Llanelli, Odeon Llanelli
- Longford, Longford Omniplex
- Manchester, Odeon Manchester Great Northern
- Morecambe, Reel Cinema Morecambe
- Naas, Odeon Naas
- Newark, Odeon Newark
- Newbridge, Odeon Newbridge
- Newquay, Lighthouse Cinema
- Newry, Newry Omniplex
- Newton Abbot, Alexandra Cinema
- Northwich, Odeon Northwich
- Orpington, Odeon Orpington
- Oxford, Odeon Oxford George Street
- Paisley, Showcase Paisley
- Perth, Perth Playhouse
- Peterborough, Showcase Peterborough
- Portsmouth, Odeon Port Solent
- Port Talbot, Reel Cinema Port Talbot
- Preston, Odeon Preston
- Quinton Halesowen, Reel Cinema Quinton Halesowen
- Redruth, Regal Film Centre
- Rochdale, Odeon Rochdale
- Sheffield, Odeon Sheffield
- Slough, Empire Slough
- Southampton, Odeon Southampton
- Stafford, Odeon Luxe Stafford
- St Austell, White River Cinema
- Stillorgan, Odeon Stillorgan
- Stoke-on-Trent, Odeon Stoke
- Sunderland, Empire Sunderland
- Sutton Coldfield, Empire Sutton Coldfield
- Swansea, Odeon Swansea
- Swindon, Empire Swindon Greenbridge
- Tamworth, Odeon Tamworth
- Taunton, Odeon Taunton
- Tralee, Tralee Omniplex
- Truro, Plaza Cinema
- Walsall, Showcase Walsall
- Waterford, Waterford Omniplex
- West Bromwich, Odeon West Bromwich
- Widnes, Reel Cinema Widnes
- Wigan, Empire Wigan
- Woking, Ambassadors Cinema


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