Movie Review: The Mother
Alternate Title: Mamma Mia!
Story: There is some great storytelling going on in this well written (Hanif Kureishi), beautifully photographed (Alwin Kuchler) film smartly directed by Roger Michell (Persuasion).
The story unfolds slowly and like a good book the characters develop with each scene. Sixty-something May becomes a widow while visiting her grown children in London. She does not want to go quietly into the night. How she copes with this new life situation, how her children handle her new 'zest' for life and how nothin' ain't as it seems is what this film is all about. If you want to see a dysfunctional family, English-style, this is the film for you.
The film is being promoted as a May-December romance (which it is). But it is much, much more than that. Actually, the older woman, younger man relationship is the healthiest thing in the whole film.
I cannot emphasize enough how visually beautiful this film was to this viewer's eye. Many of the scenes were set up to evoke emotion without the characters having to say anything. The scenes were set as if taken directly from some beautiful photography exhibit about home life.
As you leave the theater, take another look at that almost invisible 'woman of a certain' age' as she walks down the street. There is still a twinkle in her eye - I can vouch for that!
Acting: Superb acting all around. Anne Reid, as May is marvelous and grows into her role with each passing scene. Daniel Craig (Sylvia, Road to Perdition) is terrific as the hunka burnin' love. However, I was not a complete believer as to his action in the final scenes. Cathryn Bradshaw and Steven Mackintosh as the grown children were also right on the money.
Food: Fish and chips, carrots, scones, and lots of cups of tea.
Visual Art: Dear May liked to sketch and some of the more humorous moments occur when her children happen upon her sketchbook.
Blatant Product Placement: Lots of products placement is seen as the characters walk about the streets of London but they were not blatant.
Opening Titles: None. We are dropped directly into the film with the titles (beautiful graphics) all coming at film's end.
Theater Audience: A handful of folks representing people across the board.
Sappy Factor: 0
Quirky Meter: 0
Squirm Scale: 0
Predictability Level: The film surprised me with the direction that it took.
Tissue Usage: 0
Oscar Worthy: Ann Reid's performance is Oscar-worthy.
Nit Picking: No nits to pick.
Big Screen or Rental: Oh, big screen for sure. For two of Kureishi's other terrific films, rent My Beautiful Launderette (which put Daniel Day-Lewis on the map) and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid.
Length: Under two hours.