Review: Mother & Child

A remarkable script centered around three women, brought to life in the form of perfectly executed performances by Annette Bening, Naomi Watts and Kerry Washington – Mother and Child embodies the definition of poetry in motion.

Written and directed by Rodrigo Garcia (Things You Can Tell Just By Looking at Her, Nine Lives) the story begins 37 years ago with Karen (Annette Bening) making the life changing decision to give her daughter Elizabeth (Naomi Watts) up for adoption at the age of 14.  From the opening scene, the decision is obviously one that haunts her and one that she learns to cope with throughout the film. Then there’s Elizabeth, who floats through life as a result of never knowing her mother, using her sex appeal to her advantage.  Finally there’s Lucy (Kerry Washington), a baker who desperately wants what Karen gave up those 37 years ago – a child. Unable to conceive on her own, she decides to adopt and through a twist of fate eventually ends up crossing paths with both Karen and Elizabeth.

For the record, this is the film that Annette Bening should have been campaigning for all season long as she gives a magnificent against type performance that could possibly be noted as a career best.  Her portrayal of Karen, despite going through a bevy of emotions, is perfectly nuanced and never once over the top, even though at times the film’s content slips into melodramatic territory.  The same can be said for Watts, who takes a completely unlikable character from the start and transforms her into someone the audience can care about by film’s end without ever forcing it upon us. However, the real surprise is Washington who gives a heartbreakingly real performance as Lucy, the woman who sacrifices just about everything to fight for a child that’s not her own.

Mother and Child is a story well told about the complexities of adoption, and the effect it has on everyone involved.  While its a film made with women, especially mothers, in mind, it’s also one that translates across the board to anyone that is open to viewing it. The only shame surrounding this film is the fact that it, nor none of its performers, were considered this awards season.

My grade: 8/10

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One Response to “Review: Mother & Child”

  1. so glad you liked this! SUCH a good movie! i agree–this movie could have been an oscar frontrunner this year.

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