Kate Hathaway insists her stage performances as Fantine inspired her daughter to become an actress and she's more than impressed with what Anne has created on the big screen in director Tom Hooper's epic adaptation.
She tells the Los Angeles Times, "I know I'm her mother, but I think she's the perfect Fantine. I don't feel like I dove into Fantine as far as she did. Annie actually opened my eyes to the character because of all the research she did."
Kate also reveals her daughter almost turned her back on acting as a hopeful child star after watching young ice-skater Tara Lipinski win gold at the 1998 Winter Olympics.
Her mum recalls, "She started crying and told her father and I that she couldn't even land a Clearasil commercial, while Tara had a gold medal."
But the actress' proud mother is glad she stuck with her dreams of becoming a star: "What I admire the most about Anne is that she keeps challenging herself. She's always been that way. She just can't settle."
Psychiatric nurse Maggie O'Connor (Kim Basinger) raises her drug-addicted sister's baby who grows up to be a girl with "special" gifts like the ability to rock a dead bird back to life. When Cody turns 6 her mother returns to claim her. The trouble is mom is now married to Eric Stark (Rufus Sewell) leader of a Satanic cult masquerading as a self-help group. Stark wants Cody to use her powers for the "dark side " and will kill her if she refuses. Aunt Maggie enlists the aid of FBI agent John Travis (Jimmy Smits) to help her track down and save Cody.
Basinger 's passive bearing and scrubbed-down glamour seem out of place in the dingy New York settings. When Stark's snarling teenage-runaway groupies attack her they seem as angry at her smooth blond coif as anything else. Sewell does what he can with lines like "death would be a kinder fate" and "she will be ours" (this last line uttered while practically shaking his fist at the heavens). Vastly underused is Smits whose all-talk-and-no-action FBI agent wouldn't have lasted a day in "NYPD Blue's" precinct.
Although director Chuck Russell captures a rich textured look and lays on the ghoulish special effects (a river of red-eyed rats ominous whispers wraithlike demons) "Bless the Child" doesn't generate any real chill. It's not helped by the script which throws in every clich‚ possible about angels demons hellfire and brimstone. There's no avoiding comparison with "The Sixth Sense " the success of which surely must have put some heat under this project. Unfortunately it's a little too cooked.