Richard Crenna, Tom Guiry and Linda Kelsey in Shattered Family (1993) (aka: A Place to Be Loved)

A Declaration of Independence

Abused by his father and abandoned by his mother Gregory K (Tom Guiry) ends up living at a ranch for boys which is where George Russ (Richard Crenna) first comes across him. Felling sorry for him George speaks to his wife Liz (Linda Kelsey) and their family about adopting Gregory and giving him the childhood he has never had. Not only does having Gregory, who prefers to be called Sean, live with them provide problems such as jealousy and clinginess but also some unusual problems when in order to adopt Gregory he will first have to legally divorce his parents.

As I sat watching "Shattered Family", which is also known as "A Place to Be Loved" I just felt I had watched it before and recently but I couldn't be sure. And then I found out why I had this feeling as "Shattered Family" is based on the same true story as "Switching Parents" which interestingly was made in the same year as this. The thing is that the story of Gregory K who thought to basically divorce his parents is strong enough to work as two movies.

And the reason for this is that in "Shattered Family" the focus is as much on the difficulties of Gregory fitting in to the Russ family as it is on the battle to divorce his parents so he can stay with the Russ family. We get to see things from Gregory being use to having to eat when he can so loading his plate up to how the other children feel about Gregory calling their parents mum and dad. Of course there is still the drama surrounding the divorce of his parents but this movie takes a wider look at the story which is why it works.

What "Shattered Family" also has is Tom Guiry and as with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in "Switching Parents" he delivers a brilliant performance for such a young actor. Guiry makes the sense of desperation to be loved by his foster parents very real and in doing so we can appreciate how his clinginess to Liz Russ annoyed their other children. There is also the not so little fact that with Richard Crenna starring as George Russ this movie has an actor who is effortless when coming to playing a sympathetic character.

What this all boils down to is that with it being based on the same true story "Shattered Family" is a good companion piece to "Switching Parents" with its focus more on the difficulties of a foster child fitting in to a family. It is the sort of movie which if you watch unaware of the true story on which it is based it is very moving.