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Mother and Child [Blu-ray]
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From writer-director Rodrigo Garcia (Nine Lives) and executive producer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel, 21 Grams) comes the moving story of three women (Annette Bening, Naomi Watts and Kerry Washington) and the power of the unbreakable bond between mother and child.
Annette Bening is Karen, a bitter, unhappy spinster copying with the death of her mother and the lifelong feelings of loss and regret over the child she gave up for adoption when she was 14. Naomi Watts is Elizabeth, the grown up daughter she s never met, now an ambitious lawyer who has trouble making emotional connections and Kerry Washington is Lucy, an infertile wife who turns to adoption as the key to the maternity she passionately craves. Rodrigo Garcia skilfully interweaves the rich and complex stories of these three women into a single narrative that runs deep with emotion.
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Karen (Annette Bening) gave birth to her only child when she was fourteen and gave her up for adoption. This momentous event ruined her life. Consumed by guilt, she was unable to establish any meaningful relationships with men. She lived with her mother until her mother died but both women did not really open themselves for one another. Karen knows she is "difficult": judgmental, stubborn, opinionated, uncompromising, determined, strong-willed, and very lonely. Although her daughter plays very important part in her life, Karen never tried to look for her.
Everything changes when Paco (Jimmy Smits) enters her life. It was not easy for him to penetrate the stubborn-sturdy walls that Karen erected around herself but he finds a way, to Karen's surprise. "Where did you come from?" she asks him. Karen's opened to Paco's abundant kindness, and quickly marries him. Paco "leads his way" to persuade her to look for her daughter, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth (Naomi Watts) had a very difficult life. From a very young age, she had to live alone and to force herself into the world. Ambitious, unflinching, smart, selfish with many qualities of her mother (judgmental, stubborn, opinionated, uncompromising, determined, strong-willed) she leads a lonely life in which she finds satisfaction. Happiness would be a big word to describe her condition and constant mood. She moves in and out of cities for unclear reasons but we can guess these constant moves were due to her difficult personality and the way she treats others, especially men: Use, play with and throw. Men are attracted to her like flies to light. Incapable of loving anyone, including herself, people are for her mere means to an end. Stubborn and fearful like her mother, Elizabeth never tried to look for her roots until she becomes pregnant at the age of 37. At about the same time, not knowing of one another, both Karen and Elizabeth deposit letters for each other in the adoption offices.
The third story is about Lucy (Kerry Washington) who is unable to conceive. To satisfy her husband's yearning for a child, she turns to adoption to make the family they desire. Joseph, her husband, encapsulates the role of men in this film: he hardly speaks, with a flat personality and simple desires. Lucy does not really need him. Indeed, the road to adoption is especially difficult for Lucy but once she is able to have a child, she fails to understand that motherhood is indeed "all about her": her child's wishes, her milk, her sleep, her quality time. Lucy's mother has to open her eyes to tell her that she is not special. Yes, this is motherhood (parenthood).
The film is built around two wonderful actresses: Naomi Watts and Annette Bening. Kerry Washington, Jimmy Smits and Samuel L. Jackson are in the supporting roles. It is very dense and very sad. There are no moments of comic relief and only seldom we see the magical, beautiful, happy moments of parenthood. There is only one striking episode of family life, to which Elizabeth enters quite astonished as she never experienced such a playful gathering in her own life. The movie, in many respects, is one sided as it highlights the pains of motherhood, not the joys, and it is about motherhood, not parenthood. The three main stories are about broken families. For many of us, luckily life is far more complex, with many shades of grey and pink, not only grey. Yet the film is captivating, moving, complex and beautifully-done.
Four stars in Rafi's scale.
Several stories interweave here. I particularly enjoyed the Samuel Jackson thread of the screenplay as I have a bias towards him as an actor but really; all the stories are as strong as each other. The title may not inspire you to think of this as a captivating story but believe me this is refreshing high quality drama at its best.
** Produced by Lisa Maria Falcone and Julie Lynn
** Written and directed by Rodrigo Garcia
** Music by Edward Shearmur
** Run time: 125 minutes
The cast includes the following:
** Annette Bening as Karen
** Jimmy Smits as Paco
** Elpidia Carrillo as Sofia
** Cherry Jones as Sister Joanne
** Naomi Watts as Elizabeth
** Samuel L. Jackson as Paul
** Amy Brenneman as Dr Eleanor Stone
** Lawrence Pressman as Dr Morgan
** Kerry Washington as Lucy
** David Ramsey as Joseph
** Lisa G. Hamilton as Leticia
** Shareeka Epps as Ray
I do not wish to spoil the viewing for anyone. Therefore I am not going to reveal too much about what happens in this movie. I will only give you a brief introduction, so you understand the structure of the movie.
There are three story-lines:
# 1 is about Karen, who had a baby when she was only 14 years old. The baby was given up for adoption and this fact has made a big impact on her life ever since then. She isolates herself from the people around her.
# 2 is about Elizabeth, who is the daughter that Karen gave up for adoption almost forty years ago. She has a great career, but her personal relationships are very casual. She finds it difficult to make friends with anyone.
# 3 is about Lucy, who is married to Joseph. They want to have a child, but nothing happens. Now they are looking into adoption instead, because Lucy wants to be a mother of a child.
The three women Karen, Elizabeth, and Lucy live in the same city, but when the movie begins, they do not know each other. Although Karen and Elizabeth are connected by blood, they do not know anything about each other.
Does Karen want to find the daughter she gave up for adoption many years ago? Does Elizabeth want to find the mother who gave her up for adoption on the day she was born? Will Lucy find a child she can adopt? How is Lucy connected with Karen and Elizabeth? I will not tell you. If you want to know the answer to these questions, you must watch the movie all the way to the end.
“Mother and Child” explores the topic of motherhood. But this is not all. It also explores the topic of adoption: what it means to give a child up for adoption; and what it means to be an adopted child.
The three leading characters try to cope with life, even though it is not always easy. While their professional lives work quite well, there are some problems in their personal lives.
A word of warning: some parts of this movie are sad. Do not expect happy endings all around.
Another word of warning: some scenes are quite revealing, quite graphic. This is why the movie is rated “Suitable for 15 years and older.” If you are offended by this fact, you should stay away from this product. However, if you are not offended, this movie may be something for you.
What do reviewers say about it? On Metacritic it has a rating of 64 per cent from the critics, but an audience score of 78 per cent. It seems the general audience likes it more than the professional critics. On IMDb it has a rating of 72 per cent; and on Rotten Tomatoes it has a rating of 78 per cent.
I understand the positive reviews and I agree with them. “Mother and Child” is a captivating, dramatic, and emotional movie. I want to go all the way to the top with this product. I think it deserves a rating of five stars.
PS. Edward Shearmur also composed the music for The Governess that was released in 1998.
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interlinked well done I cried very moving thee cast was spot on the...Read more