Projections - Movie Reviews

The Mother

Starring Anne Reid, Daniel Craig, Cathryn Bradshaw,
Steven Mackintosh, Peter Vaughan, Anna Wilson Jones

The Mother is a sensitive, somewhat un-fulfilling look at the effect from an adulterous relationship between a 60-ish woman (Anne Reid) and a man only about half her age. It’s an intriguing, intimate tale, especially early on, with director Roger Michell (Changing Lanes) working deliberately from a script by Hanif Kureishi.

Reid’s May goes with her husband to London for a visit with their daughter Rose and son Bobby. Suddenly, a heart attack befalls her beloved and renders her a widow, and she opts to move in with her daughter (Cathryn Bradshaw).

The story takes on a more delicate nature when Rose, involved with Darren, a married man, played by Daniel Craig last on view in Sylvia opposite new mother Gwyneth Paltrow, learns that May has strong feelings for Darren, a handyman, too.

Mitchell stages some erotic scenes with subtle power as the relationship between May and Darren is viable. The difference in age isn’t ignored and Darren’s inversion to normalcy helps to bring passion and an emotional grounding back to May’s life.

The Mother covers much ground in treading the line between love, sex and death, sensing the dynamic of May and her kids. Since it’s hard to engage the characters of Rose and Bobby, too shrill and distant, respectively, the family triangle underpinnings don’t provide the emotional gravity that would allow for a more nuanced, less conventional film.

Still, this somewhat provocative art house feature rises above an understated, uneasy approach of resolution from the thoughtful work of Reid and Craig who demonstrate an on-screen connection, especially in the film’s more raw interludes. Perhaps this collaboration between Michell and Kureishi needed more to make it a poignant domestic drama, even if the dialogue astutely senses the psychological tensions already breaking up one family.

The Mother

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