ⓘ Bless the Child


ⓘ Bless the Child

Bless the Child is a 2000 German-American horror-thriller film directed by Chuck Russell and starring Kim Basinger, Jimmy Smits, Angela Bettis, Rufus Sewell, Christina Ricci, and Holliston Coleman. It is based on the novel of the same name by Cathy Cash Spellman. The film received negative reviews.


1. Plot

Maggie OConnors Kim Basinger life revolves around her job as a nurse at a busy New York hospital. Her sister Jenna, a hardcore drug user Angela Bettis, abandons her newborn daughter Cody at Maggies home. Maggie takes Cody in, and she becomes the daughter she never had. Cody is diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, and is enrolled in a Catholic school for children with special needs in order to make her more aware of her surroundings part of her condition. The nuns who run the school are struggling to keep Cody out of danger and keep her occupied. Cody begins to show special telekinetic abilities, such as being able to spin toys. She also resurrects a bird after it flies into a school window and breaks its neck.

Meanwhile, children with the same birth date and age as Cody begin to be abducted and killed around the city. Members of a mysterious cult, with a black symbol tattooed on their arms, are shown to be tracking and abducting these children. They are apparently trying to find a child with certain unspecified abilities. If they do not exhibit such abilities, the cult murders and discards them.

One night, Maggie is at work at her local hospital where she meets a young woman called Cheri Post Christina Ricci who was formerly part of the same cult. Cheri is a drug user who is afraid to show Maggie her arms which are covered in track marks and tattoos, one being the same satanic symbol of the cult. She recognizes Maggies surname and comments on her similarity with Jenna. Maggie begs Cheri to tell her where Jenna is living, as neither she nor Cody has seen her since Jenna left. Rather than disclosing Jennas location, Cheri warns Maggie to protect Cody as the cult is looking for her. Cheri is murdered by decapitation.

Jenna suddenly re-appears with a mysterious new husband, Eric Rufus Sewell, and abducts Cody Holliston Coleman. Despite the fact that Maggie has no legal rights to Cody, FBI agent John Travis Jimmy Smits, an expert in ritual murder and occult-related crime, takes up her case when he realizes that Cody shares the same birth date as several other recently missing children.

Cody, it soon becomes clear, is more than simply special. She manifests extraordinary powers that the forces of evil have waited centuries to control, and her abduction sparks a clash between the soldiers of good and evil that can only be resolved, in the end, by the strength of one small child and the love she inspires in those she touches.


2. Reception

Bless the Child received almost universally negative reviews from critics, with Rotten Tomatoes giving this film a 3% rating and is ranked #29 on their worst-reviewed films of the last decade.

Film critic Bruce Kirkland felt that Bless the Child was mocking Scientology in the guise of the fictional cult "The New Dawn".

Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.


3. Box office

The film opened at #7 at the North American box office making US$$9.4 million in its opening weekend. It went on to gross only $40.4 million worldwide, below its $65 million budget.


4. Awards

The film was nominated for one Razzie Award, Worst Actress for Kim Basinger, along with I Dreamed of Africa, but lost to Madonna for The Next Best Thing.