Birth Family RelationshipsEncouragementLoss and AttachmentNew PlacementReunification

Movie Review: The Great Gilly Hopkins

During my childhood, I had not been exposed to foster care except through my babysitter, who was a foster child. She had tried to explain to me why she didn’t live with her parents and how her brother lived elsewhere, but I really didn’t get it. Due to my youth, I didn’t even know how to inquire more so I didn’t. I just accepted that she did not live in a nuclear family.

Imagine my delight and surprise when my eldest son came home from his 6th grade Language Arts class this year with a book (which has also been turned into a movie) about a girl in foster care. He could participate in class discussions with first-hand experience!

My husband, three boys, and I spent one relaxing late afternoon watching The Great Gilly Hopkins movie. Being a foster family, we are intimately acquainted with the themes of loss, attachment, hope, reunification, and unconditional love.

Gilly Hopkins is a troubled pre-teen girl who is placed again in yet another new home. She has high hopes that one day her birth mother will come and rescue her from foster care. Through many angry antics, she refuses to attach to her new family and fully expects to get kicked out again and move on, never establishing roots in a family or community. However, we see hope when she starts to reach out to those in need around her. Her situation takes a turn and more heartache enters in.

A heartwarming film, with funny lines strewn throughout, The Great Gilly Hopkins will capture your heart as you cheer Gilly on and desire the best for her future. We laughed and I cried. Hard changes occur, new relationships are forged, patience is tried, and unexpected bonds form in the tumultuous world of foster care. Things do not end all wrapped up with a pretty bow on top.

I highly recommend for you to watch this movie and/or read the book with your children and introduce them to the lives of children in foster care. The story mimics reality, although in reality the resolution can take years. Click on the links below to check them out on Amazon:

DVD to rent or own:


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20 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Great Gilly Hopkins

  1. Our family enjoyed this movie too. I appreciated how they didn’t choose a “bad guy” in Gilly’s scenario, which is typically what happens with movies about foster care and adoption.

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