Rosy lies awake in bed watching a roleplay video. It’s of a woman acting motherly, pretending to put her to bed. Rosy is 25-years-old and ‘aged out’ of the foster system without being adopted, and she decides now to find someone who would like an adult surrogate child.

Ellie Moon wrote and stars in this quirky drama about what it means to feel like a complete person. For Rosy, who’s socially odd and exhibiting OCD behaviours, that looks like finding a mother or father figure. “You’ve only met me an hour, I’m actually really unstable,” she tells a man interested in becoming her dad, who concludes she’s level-headed and doesn’t need a parent.

Rosy’s impulsive behaviour and childlike pastel dress-sense would fit comfortably into a Miranda July movie. Director Karen Knox keeps a film with flourishes of strangeness – a random robbery, a local cult, 8485’s music – grounded by placing a need to be understood at the heart of every scene. Adult Adoption is visually tender and equally as empathetic; Rosy isn’t the only person in this story who feels like she’s missing something. Most everyone she encounters is lonely, whether that’s because of an estranged daughter or that they are longing for a romantic partner. This is a story not so much of a young woman looking to become ‘whole’, but in realising that everyone is vulnerable in their own way.

Adult Adoption is quietly wonderful. Moon’s screenplay is full of charm and wit, and she strikes a perfect balance as Rosy, who, on paper, could invite pity over sympathy. She plays the part perfectly and full of contrasts: capable while wanting guidance, driven while looking for meaning.

Knox’s feature debut, with a distinctive kindness at its core, is a complete triumph. Its gentleness gives way to a profound search for belonging, while realising maybe we’re all on this search together.



CAST: Ellie Moon, Rebecca Northan, Leah Doz

DIRECTOR: Karen Knox

WRITER: Ellie Moon

SYNOPSIS: Rosy is a 25-year-old bank teller who ‘aged out’ of the foster care system at 18. Desperate to fill that parental void, she seeks out an online service that connects older adults looking for adult surrogate children.