Plan a family movie night for the film “Justine”

Everyone get ready for family movie night! Grab the popcorn, soda and settle into your seats for the Netflix original movie “Justine.” This film tells the story of how Lisa, a woman in her 30s, befriends Justine, an eight-year-old girl with spina bifida.

Lisa Wade is in desperate need of a job. Going door to door to shops seeking employment isn’t working, so she must rely on a job agency to ease her financial burdens. Lisa only has one request; to not work as a caretaker.  She’ll gladly take a receptionist position or desk job, but when no positions become available within two weeks, Lisa gives in to care taking. Here, she finds herself in charge of taking care of Justine. 

The audience quickly learns about Lisa’s backstory and why she is so frantic about finding a paid position. She has recently moved to California with her two children after the death of her husband, with only two years of college under her belt and no degree or specialty. Lisa relies on the help of her father-in-law and settles into a depression that only one job and one kind of girl can slowly bring her out of. 

Justine, although intuitive and energetic, lives in a parental bubble. Her parents, Michael and Alison, believe Justine should be homeschooled because she’ll be made fun of at school for her disability. Her spinal cord never formed properly so she lives her life in a wheelchair. Justine’s parents teach her to create imaginary friends to play with and to talk to herself if she’s lonely or bored. 

When Lisa notices Justine is capable of interacting with kids her own age, Lisa takes it upon herself to broaden Justine’s experiences. Lisa also experiences Michael and Alison’s apparent racism when Justine asks what the ‘n’ word means after hearing her parents use it to refer to Lisa’s husband and her mixed-race children.
Overcoming profound sadness, physical restrictions and racism are only some of the themes “Justine” projects for audiences. Other than the acting, which can be rather dry at times, the plot is unique and insightful. The first 10 minutes seem rather slow and uninteresting but after the plot reveals that Lisa is a single mom trying to piece together her husband’s death, the deeper elements of each character take form. By the end of the movie, you’ll be wishing for more hints of what the future holds for both Lisa and Justine.
“Justine” is a good movie for a family movie night but be aware of increased levels of swearing and occasional racial slurs. The whole movie is roughly an hour and forty-five minutes. This dramatic yet intimate film may take you out of your movie “comfort zone” but it’ll most likely be a good thing once you’ve finished watching it.