A Simple Twist of Fate is a movie that proves that sorrow is not the last word for those who suffer loss. Steve Martin stars as Michael McCann, a former schoolteacher who has become a recluse in a small Virginia community afer being betrayed by his wife. He collects gold coins to assuage the emptiness he feels inside.
Then, one night during a winter storm, a little girl walks into his house afer her heroin-addicted mother dies. Much to the shock of the gossipy community, Michael is allowed to adopt the child he names Mathilda. With the helpful advice of a single mother who runs an antique shop, he soon gets into the swing of parenthood. A kid at heart, Michael enjoys creating a playful kingdom for Mathilda. He keeps watch over her as he runs his furniture-making business out of their home.
Michael and Mathilda's loving relationship is put in jeopardy when John Newland, a childless politician who is the girl's biological parent, tries to get custody of her. This all happens after the ten-year-old girl takes horse riding lessons at his large estate.
This drama, written and produced by Steve Martin, is a reworking of the 19th century novel Silas Marner by George Eliot. Although much is made of the class difference between Michael and Newland, the real thrust of the drama is the joy that sweeps into the life of this sorrowing man when Mathilda walks into his home. And the message of the ensuing custody battle is that the good life cannot be purchased but must be patiently constructed out of love and devotion.