Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mother and Child - DVD Review

lll 1/2

Starring Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits, S. Epatha Merkeson, Cherry Jones, Elpidia Carillo, David Morse, Amy Brenneman, David Ramsey, Elizabeth Pena, Lisa Gay Hamilton and Marc Blucas.
Directed by Rodrigo Garcia.

This was farther down my rental list so I was surprised when Blockbuster Online sent it to me. I wasn't sure if I was going to see it, but I'm glad I did.

This movie follows three different women with parental issues. There's Elizabeth (Naomi Watts), an ambitious attorney with attachment issues who can never stay in one place for too long. We eventually learn she had her tubes tied when she was 17, and she was adopted. There's Karen (Annette Bening), an unhappy nurse who helped her elderly mother even though there doesn't appear to be much love there. There's Lucy (Kerry Washington), who can't have children, but she and her husband are going through the adoption process.

Each storyline is strong, as each actress is given a deep character to explore and anchor her thread. I actually liked Bening here more than in Kids Are All Right. She's a prickly character who slowly dethaws when a patient colleague (Jimmy Smits) asks her out and continues to be nice to her despite her curtness. Elizabeth, also, is one of those people I wouldn't like in real life, but as we learn more about her, we grow to understand her. She eventually starts dating her boss, played by Samuel L. Jackson, who gives an unusually restrained, and therefore welcome, performance. Lucy goes through her roller-coaster of emotions as well, as the birth mother of her soon-to-be baby isn't peaches-n-cream to deal with.

It wound up being an effective and moving film.

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