Mother and Child

Mother and Child

Karen is a bitter, unhappy spinster coping 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. Elizabeth is the grown up daughter she’s never met, now an ambitious lawyer who has trouble making emotional connections and Lucy is 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. 2.6 out of 5 based on 18 reviews
Mother and Child

Omniscore:

Certificate
Genre Drama
Director Rodrigo García
Cast Eileen Ryan, Samuel L. Jackson, Naomi Watts Annette Bening
Studio Verve Pictures
Release Date January 2012
Running Time 125 mins
 

Karen is a bitter, unhappy spinster coping 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. Elizabeth is the grown up daughter she’s never met, now an ambitious lawyer who has trouble making emotional connections and Lucy is 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.

Reviews

Screen

Tim Grierson

Even if the storytelling wobbles some near the conclusion, Garcia finds the right note to end the movie on – which means returning his attention to his great strength as a filmmaker, his characters.

15/09/2009

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Time Magazine

Mary Pols

At a crucial moment near the end, Garcia has to manipulate one of his characters dreadfully in order to get all of us —actors, characters, viewers — where he wants us ... It's a credit to Garcia and his actors' impeccable performances that you go along with it even for a minute. Afterward, though, it eats away just a little at your faith in the movie — and at that good cry.

06/05/2010

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Time Out

Cath Clarke

If Oprah made movies, they might look like this: non-judgemental, the characters all cruising towards be-their-best-selfdom. What keeps the whole thing from toppling into an abyss of unwatchable TV drama histrionics is a pair of dynamite performances from Annette Bening and Naomi Watts.

05/01/2012

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Total Film

James Mottram

Unfortunately, Mother And Child’s flaws are story-led, the narrative creaking with contrivance and completely falling apart in its final trimester. Attempting a far-tooneatly wrapped finale, García stumbles when he should soar.

23/12/2011

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Empire Magazine

Anna Smith

Dramatic events are skipped over quickly with little explanation and new characters are introduced without any benefit to the story. It’s beautifully performed — and you don’t get to see Naomi Watts straddling Samuel L. Jackson every day.

02/12/2011

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The Evening Standard

Derek Malcolm

Garcia's deliberately slow-burning pace makes the film seem much longer than its two hours and an undercurrent of conservatism sometimes betrays his avowedly liberal sentiments. It seems to say that being a mother or a daughter is, in the end, the be all and end all of womanhood.

06/01/2012

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

The intricate drama of the first hour springs a leak, and schmaltz comes flooding through the hole. Still, cherish those early scenes of Bening as she squashes Smits' friendly overtures, and of Watts maliciously toying with the randy neighbour. Seldom have two damaged women been rendered with such soul-withering fierceness.

06/01/2012

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The Daily Mail

Chris Tookey

Garcia’s script is not as sophisticated as the acting. It’s episodic and rambling, and would have gained from sharper script-editing ... Some of the dialogue is soapy, and the happyish ending depends on contrived coincidences.

05/01/2012

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The New Yorker

Anthony Lane

While some viewers will lap this up, others will be overwhelmed by the suspicion that they are being taken for a lachrymose ride.

17/05/2010

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The New York Times

A. O. Scott

This is a relaxed, loose movie that above all is dedicated to exploring the emotions and dilemmas of its characters. Its restraint and the patience of its scenes are arrestingly at odds with the emotional tumult seething just under the surface. When you stop to think about it, some of these women ... live in a state of constant extremity.

06/05/2010

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

The indie movie equivalent of dinner theatre, the sort of low-key melodrama that offers a little artistic nourishment courtesy of a few name stars, but mostly relies on them to buffer an overly schematic story and prevent it from collapsing under the weight of implausibility.

05/01/2012

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The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

Terribly sincere and sincerely terrible.

05/01/2012

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

Drama of course thrives on calamity and disaster, but this oddly moralising film seems not to tolerate the idea that one woman could give up a child to another for adoption, and that all concerned could live with this arrangement reasonably happily.

05/01/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Nicholas Barber

It's one of those pseudo-intellectual ensemble dramas with numerous overlapping storylines which think they're profoundly significant just because they don't have a sense of humour.

08/01/2012

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The Observer

Philip French

It's a highly contrived affair with a barely concealed, deeply conservative Catholic agenda, and it has the ring of a cracked bell calling the righteous to prayer.

08/01/2012

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The Times

Wendy Ide

It’s a decent, if a little heavy-handed, drama for the first two acts. The performances are impressive — humane, sympathetic and flawed. But then Garcia employs some staggeringly suspect narrative devices that drag the picture down ... All this is accompanied by an increasingly hysterical score that makes you wish that every one in question had been a little bit more diligent with their birth control.

06/01/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Tim Robey

García, goes to such organisational effort that the movie itself resembles protracted labour – it strains through gritted teeth to join its story up, taking some pretty dubious shortcuts in basic credibility.

05/01/2012

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The Sunday Times

Edward Porter

Garcia seems to think no good can ever come of a mother’s letting a baby be adopted. The fate he arranges for Watts’s character — one that links her to a childless wife (Kerry Washington), desperate to adopt — is a drastic intervention that underlines the film’s preaching with a splash of sacrificial blood.

08/01/2012

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