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This review is from: Momma's Man [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
I knew i was gonna be liking this within the first 10 minutes. Any film that is a bit down-beat, off-beat, low-key, and minor-mood gets my empathy immediately hooked in.
You've got a Jewish guy - Mikey - going back to his Jewish parents and hanging about in their idiosyncratic clutter of a New York loft flat. He's got a wife, baby, and job, back in California he seems reluctant to return to.
He's a having a nervous breakdown that's why. A crisis of confidence. Needs some loving reassurance from his boho parents. The director casts his real life parents to play stylised versions of themselves; momma a little more smothery mothery anxious, papa a little more taciturn and severe.
This loft flat is fascinating in an awful kind of way. Stuffed choka with memorabilia, assemblages, artifacts, wind-up toys, philosophical machines - a kind of studio cum archive overstock room, difficult to imagine how you could live amongst all that stuff as a kid - a son - without being claustrophobically comforted or overwhelmingly stunted (take your pick)
I couldn't wait for Mikey to get out of there, go take a walk outside somewhere big and fresh; but after a while he becomes paralysed by inertia, is all too literally fearful of leaving the front door and making the first step (down the stairs)
And then of course momma gives him exactly what he needs. So that he can let go of his past, leave limbo, move on to being the adult/parent he needs to be (but maybe been reluctant to be, not wanting it)
It's a quiet unassuming film. Everything - the setting, his parents, his dilemma, his angst - feels appropriately authentic and dignified, realized with a kind of understated but affectionate pathos.