Review: Mother and Child

MFR Rating: ★ ★ ★
I can’t say I’m interested enough to find out exactly why Mother and Child is only just coming out in the UK, despite being released way back in 2009 in the States, but I’ll venture a guess that it’s struggled to find distribution due to its general unremarkableness. Whatever the problem, in the past 3 years we haven’t been missing out on a particularly big deal. Watchable yes, memorable, no.

Mother and Child is the story of three separate stories, all dealing with issues surrounding adoption and motherhood and inevitably these storylines very slowly begin to intertwine. Despite being the kind of film that I can imagine going under many people’s radars, it’s full of big name acting talent: Naomi Watts, Jimmy Smits, Annette Benning and even Samuel L. Jackson playing a completely understated un-Samuel L. Jackson sort of role. Actually all the acting is pretty good, but even that can’t quite make up for a very medicore script. Many will remember Annette Benning co-starring in the recent, glorious The Kids Are Alright, a film about the two lesbian parents whose children want to find their biological parents. It was a really fantastic film, feeling realistic, poignant as well as funny. Although Mother and Child tries to deal with some similar issues in a not dissimilar way, what’s very obviously lacking is the script.

It’s over two hours long and you feel every minute of it due to the slow pacing and not entirely captivating screenplay. Also, despite the length, you get the feeling many of the film’s big moments are rushed, absent completely and storyarcs are left unconcluded. But then I also ask myself why I give it three stars, despite all the faults? There’s something in this movie, some sense of heart, good intentions and an attempt at creating characters which aren’t irritating or terribly written, just ultimately a little unfulfilled. It’s a difficult movie to hate and manages to pass the time even if the time passes a little slowly. Maybe not a glowing endorsement, but for the effort I applaud it.

Mother and Child is out on 6th January in the UK. Running time 125 mins. Certificate 15 (UK).

Comments and feedback are always welcome or just give the film a rating by using the stars at the top.

Review by David Rank


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