Written by and starring Ellie Moon, Adult Adoption is a quirky yet insightful rumination on loneliness and familial bonds. The film follows 25-year old Rosy (Moon) who, having aged out of the foster care system at 18, lives a relatively successful albeit rudimentary life as a bank teller. Rosy tries to fill the parental void in her life with an over-attachment to her boss and by listening to parental ASMR, but seeking more she signs up for an online agency that matches older adults with adult surrogate children. What ensues is a journey of discovery as Rosy desperately seeks to find a place in the family she has always desired. 

Moon shines as  Rosy, perfectly capturing the character’s quirks that come about as she attempts to present herself as far more well adjusted than she is, and it’s in the smaller touches that she really shines. She delivers an unflinching portrayal of mental health with the kind of characterisation that can only come from a writer fully grasping every aspect of the character she has created, and the film is infinitely greater as a result. 

These nuanced elements of characterisation extend well beyond Rosy though. Every portrayal is a memorable one with idiosyncrasies perfectly captured by director Karen Knox. In particular, her use of intense lingering close-ups at opportune moments help to bring these characters to life in a wonderful fashion. Likewise, Knox’s use of brightness gives a pale, almost washed-out feel to proceedings, reflecting both Rosy’s innocence and the emptiness she feels within.

Rosy’s outsider perspective puts her in a rare position that allows the film to challenge preconceptions and provide insight to affairs that are refreshing to see on film – that family can be wherever you choose to form it. It’s in this deconstruction of family and relationships and roles within them that Adult Adoption triumphs. It deftly avoids being twee. In fact it’s a brutal and uncomfortable affair, especially in the sense of grief and loss that Rosy feels for something she’s never truly had, but it’s also one that you can’t look away from. 

Simply put, Adult Adoption is incredible. It’s a film that Moon, Knox, and all involved should be immensely proud of and everyone should immediately seek out.

Screening as part of Glasgow Film Festival 2022