Saturday, May 8, 2010

Movie with Abe: Mother and Child

Mother and Child
Directed by Rodrigo Garcia
Released May 7, 2010

“Mother and Child” is a movie about three very domineering women, all of whom have experienced some kind of disconnect from motherhood. Karen (Annette Bening) gave birth to a daughter when she was fourteen years old and longs to get back in touch with her at the age of 51. Her daughter, Elizabeth (Naomi Watts), distrusts and detests all women as a result of having been given up for adoption, and doesn’t exactly love men either. Lucy (Kerry Washington) wants desperately to be a mother, but is not able to conceive, and turns to an adoption agency to find a young mother-to-be who doesn’t want to keep her child.

Annette Bening stars as Karen

The three actresses who play these women have a tough time describing their feelings towards the characters they loved portraying. Bening says that Karen is just cranky, and that she wants to connect to people but is simply ill-equipped. Watts understands that Elizabeth is a powerful woman, but she wonders if she’s actually evil or just in a lot of pain. Washington explains how everything in Lucy’s life fits in a box, and that for all her life, she has gotten what she wants, but that’s no longer the case. Director Rodrigo Garcia, creator of HBO’s “In Treatment,” says that the women in his film are hurt, but he does not feel that difficult women are unattractive.

Naomi Watts stars as Elizabeth

Crafting a sympathetic film about three unlikable women is hard, but Garcia and his actresses have done just that. Washington emphasizes that this is a film “about three women who all undergo dramatic transformations of character because of relationships in their life.” Washington was especially pleased about the opportunity in this film for actresses to transform over the course of the film since that kind of role is usually given to a man. Garcia, no stranger to working with strong female characters, is deeply concerned with portraying these women dramatically, and he has achieved that well here.

Kerry Washington discusses the film

“Mother and Child” is a film that’s often funny, emotional, tragic, and heartwarming. Its fluctuation among a range of tones is part of what makes it such a dramatic and effective experience. A smartly-written script contributes to an engaging and heartening story. The performances by the leading ladies are top-notch, and all three actresses should cite this as among their best work. The supporting cast, which includes Samuel L. Jackson and Jimmy Smits, enhances the experience and helps all of the characters feel real. The film is not imperfect, but then again, neither are any of its characters.

B+

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