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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 6 March 2017
Loved it. Daniel Craig is wonderful Anne Reid plays a moving role. Lovely film.
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on 4 February 2013
*Mild spoilers*

As others have mentioned, this is not a feelgood movie. Anne Reid's superb portrayal of May, a woman whose life with her husband is truly mundane, whereby a pair of slippers is the most significant aspect of their relationship, holds the film together very well. Soon after the start of the film, when they go to stay with her son and daughter in law, her husband, whose shoes she had to tie and whose vest she had to pull on over his head that morning, is dancing away with the daughter in law quite happily, the expression on her face captures the "he's never like this with me" feeling perfectly.

Her husband dies that night, and from the hospital, the next day, the son drives her back to her empty house. "Bye then!". May almost has to beg to go back with him - and the daughter in law bitches and moans about it in her earshot on arrival. The rather wimpy son is keener to appease his wife than to say "she's just lost her husband of xx years - she needs us".

So she goes to stay with the daughter (Paula) instead - although Paula's only pleased to see her Mother as a babysitter. After a bout of therapy the next day, Paula just *has* to tell her Mother - made a widow just two days ago - that she was a lousy Mum who never encouraged her (no doubt the therapist told her to confront her Mother). "What about me, Mum? Me! Me! Me!".

It just kind of goes downhill from there.

Paula remains a totally unlikeable character throughout, and her final scene with her Mother near the end of the film (and the apathetic response of her son to these events as well) makes you wish May would write the two little <<nasty words>> out of her will and give it all to charity.

Still - at least she got to shag Daniel Craig.
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on 18 February 2007
I came across this film by accident and really liked it. It's such an interesting story (how wonderful at last to see an older woman being portrayed as a sexual being and having sex with a younger guy!) The acting from the two leads was amazing and the scenes totally believable. The film also said a lot about the fragmentation of modern families and how lonely a place the family unit can actually be. As previous reviewers have said, there are few characters to actually like in this film but whilst the two main leads play characters that are rounded and believable (if not always likeable), I found the characters of the children strangely unsatisfying and this is why I have given it four stars rather than five. The film makes it clear that May was not always an easy mother but I still found her children's hostility indifference to her slightly baffling - the two children came across as slightly two dimensional characters. However, the main focus of the film was on the relationship between Darren and May and I thought this was portrayed brilliantly. Overall, a highly recommended film.
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on 9 December 2004
One of the first things that struck me about "the Mother" was how disaffected, distant, and unemotional she is. In fact, her entire family seems to be so totally self-absorbed, self-obsessed and overly materialistic that not one character is at all likable. Rather than appearing as a shining beacon of love and support to her children, May (a marvelous Anne Reid), comes across as more concerned about her own failings. While ready to listen on the surface, deep down she's a middle-class, snobby, and somewhat uncaring mother who probably loves her children when it's convenient for her, but has spent the majority of her life resenting her children for stifling her when she was younger. The sexy affair she embarks on with her daughter's boyfriend, without regard for her daughter's feelings, says a lot about the years of pent-up repression inside of her.
Astutely observing the intricacies and nuances of English domestic middle-class life, director Roger Michell, allows us to peek into the lives of the elderly May and Toots (Peter Vaughan) as they visit their grown children in London. They are a long-married and well-to-do couple. Bobby (Steven Mackintosh), their busy son has a glamorous life style, a thriving business, a new house, and a wife and two children. Paula (Cathryn Bradshaw), their daughter, is a single mother, a schoolteacher, and an unpublished writer. When Toots suddenly dies of a heart attack, May, in a fit of fear and loneliness, moves in with her children to escape the solitude of her house. Her arrival at Bobby's causes problems so May goes to stay with the busy Paula.
Going back and forth from Paula's flat to Bobby's house, May meets Darren (a gorgeously sexy Daniel Craig), Bobby's robust, muscle-laden best friend who is doing some building work on the house. After Paula asks her mother to find out whether Darren wants to marry her, May becomes friendly with Darren. They have lunch together and there's obviously a connection because May kisses Darren. Soon their friendship becomes physical and with Darren sexually thrilling her, they begin an incredibly hot affair. May is a frumpy grandmother in her sixties, while Darren is a bearded, virile man in his thirties.

All the characters in this film are absolutely mired in dysfunction. May is unhappy and alone, and she fears becoming old. Her children don't particularly like her, and Paula, especially, bitterly resents her; she thinks that May's been a lousy mother who never "encouraged" her. Paula is portrayed as neurotic, hysterical and cloying, and her obsession with Darren totally gets in the way of her ability to see that Darren is kind of useless and doesn't particularly love her. Darren is also haunted: he drinks too much, copes with an autistic son, and sleeps in his car. He's always poor and seeks solace from his problems in doing lines of coke. At first Darren is nice to May, and she offers to take him on as a type of sugar mother to him, but soon she begins to see his other side.
The Mother is a beautifully acted movie with Daniel Craig and Anne Reid giving astoundingly realistic performances. The sex scenes between them both are totally realistic and beautifully done, the connection between them being far more than just sex. Reid is especially good at portraying a complicated, middle-aged woman, who is actively seeking her own fulfillment and rediscovering parts of herself that have lain dormant for years. Craig is also great as her young, spunky suitor easily portraying a good man who seems to be very kind and understanding until May, unrealistically tries to push their relationship. The Mother is a quiet, complex and very adult film that analyses, with a type of subtle restraint, the deleterious effects of selfishness, egocentricity, and self-interest on families. Mike Leonard December 04.
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on 16 September 2007
This one is for all those with the misperception that women over a certain age simply enjoy a nice warm cup of cocoa before bed. Anne Reid's 'mother' strikes up an odd relationship with a handy man half her age and what ensues is a very strange movie about, ehem, a mother having sex! Surely a moral and cultural paradox! Of course my tongue is placed firmly in cheek and why the premise of this movie should be strange I do not know. I would hazard a guess that it has something to do with our culture that tends to deem anyone over the age of 25 past it and not deserving of love. So full credit goes to the makers of this film that challenges our cultural perceptions of age, sexuality and gender. Of course the movie is not just about busting 'taboos', it explores mother/daughter relationships, grief, loneliness and how we perceive mothers in general. We should support British film making like this because there will certainly be no Hollywood equivalent taking on such brave subject matter.
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on 20 March 2014
This is definitely worth seeing... for several reasons. Anne Reid's performance is superb, so if you want to leave the saccharine of "Last Tango in Halifax" behind and voyage further into the sexual/companionship needs of older people, this film will give you plenty of food for thought. Secondly, there's Daniel Craig... enough said, really. This kind of role he took on, before he hit the really big time (and I'm thinking too of movies like "Love Is The Devil", playing opposite the other half of the Last Tango equation, Derek Jacobi), accounts for some of his best work. Then of course you have the Hanif Kureishi/Roger Michell collaboration... always quite dark, exploring adult issues head-on that many film makers go out of their way to squirm away from... but all in a well-constructed, nicely paced way. If you liked "Le Week-End" and "Venus", give this a go without hesitation.
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on 7 June 2004
Following the death of her husband - Toots, May (the beautiful Anne Reid) suddenly feels surplus to the busy, self-absorbed lives of her two children. Daughter Paula (Cathryn Bradshaw) is too busy trying to break up the marriage of lover, Darren and berating everyone for not indulging her meagre writing talent to acknowledge her mother's grief. Son, Bobby (the very under-rated Stephen Mackintosh) lets May move in with his family for a while (out of a need for a babysitter rather than any form of compassion) but his business is crumbling and he's rarely there.

Trapped in the unfamiliarity of London but too scared to go home, May wanders the streets, enjoying the freedom to get lost and generally tries to avoid confrontation with both her offspring and her grief. The only person who shows any form of sympathy towards her is Paula's lover, Darren who chats to her as he builds a conservatory at her son's house. Paula pushes them together with a mind to her mother picking his brains about whether he's going to leave his wife or not.

The couple immediately form a bond whereby they can both express how lost they feel, how they both long to escape and all the other things that her children's obsession with materialism seems to have made them immune to. Despite an age difference of over 30 years, May and Darren become lovers. He is fascinated by her earthy complexity; she finds her inner youth and passion reawakened, sadly all-too briefly.

This is a quietly probing dissection of loss and need. A wonderfully pared screenplay from the consistently brilliant Hanif Kureishi lets the actors movements and facial expressions evoke a great deal of the emotion, giving the viewer the feeling that a lot more has been expressed through dialogue than actually has.

Director, Roger Mitchell benefits from having lesser known actors in the lead roles than we are accustomed to in his films, and this said, Anne Reid is a far more convincing romantic lead than Gwyneth Paltrow in 'Changing Lanes' or Julia Roberts in 'Notting Hill,' despite being 68 years old. It's also refreshing and heartening to see a mainstream director take on an unspoken taboo such as the sexuality of older people and treat it with such respect and sensitivity. This all adds to giving the film a distinctly European feel, something that was backed up by the plaudits it received at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. One feels this change of tone and subject matter seems to borrow something from Patrice Cheraux's take on Kureishi's last cinematic venture - 'Intimacy,' and if so, it is to be applauded.

The ensemble cast work brilliantly together. Daniel Craig turns in a multi-dimensional performance as a troubled man seeking, then rejecting redemption. Steven Mackintosh quietly steals the few scenes he is in and Cathryn Bradshaw is wildly dislikeable as the selfish, deluded daughter, dealing with and avoiding her own guilt at her father's death. But it is undoubtedly Anne Reid in the title role that gives the film its incredible warmth and power and I can only hope that this wonderfully versatile actress's career will now succumb to a similar, deserved renaissance to that experienced by her character.
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on 20 August 2012
Very good movie. Intense acting. The storyline is interesting. Do not buy this if you're looking for something to cheer you up, especially if you're a middle-aged chick. This is quite depressing, but good all the same. In this movie you can see that Daniel Craig can act, and the female lead actress, Anne Reid, does a magnificent performance.
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on 11 February 2009
"The mother" walks in the footsteps of the celebrated,British tradition of social family dramas with an underlying sense of humour It's a touching, funny and bittersweet film. Anne Reid and Daniel Craig are a perfect match as this 'unlikely' romantic couple and both give convincing performances.
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on 5 May 2012
the character of may played by anne reid stole the film here as a lady who late in life after he husband died went to stay with her daughter and wanted and needed to feel life was worth living again and not over with was done with real depth of feeling.daniel craig as darran played a drifting chap who seemed happy to service the mum and daughter until the truth came out. i found myself feeling for the mum.i didnt like the other characters so the cast did a fine job. this film is well priced entertaining if you give it a go and very well thought through. well acted all round.
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