Mother And Child (Blu-ray)
Films about parents and their children are usually touching but also plentiful. The key is to find a new aspect to explore in the relationship in order to separate your film from the rest. MOTHER AND CHILD finds its niche choosing its focus on women and adoption. While it may not do enough to be remembered, some great performances combined with interesting characters warrant enough for a viewing.
Much like Alegandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s style (who also is an executive producer), director Rodrigo Garcia follows a few different storylines that rarely interact with one another. The drama centers around three women. Karen (Annette Bening), an unmarried, unhappy 50-year old spends her time as a nurse and caring for her aging mother. She is consumed with thoughts about the child she gave up for adoption when she was 14-years old. Elizabeth (Naomi Watts), an intelligent, independent woman who is a highly successful lawyer spends her time emotionally detached using sex to take advantage of people’s feelings. She was an adopted child who does not know her biological parents nor was she close to her adoptive parents. Lucy (Kerry Washington), a kind, honest woman desperately wants a child with her husband. They are looking to adopt but Lucy must go through a vigorous interview process by the young pregnant girl choosing to give up her child. The three storylines cover different time lines but all match up for the conclusion in typical but still touching fashion.
Playing their parts to perfection, Bening, Watts and Washington are unflappable as the strong leads in their respective roles – particularly Bening who is always impressive. Jimmy Smits, Samuel L. Jackson and David Ramsey turn in great supporting performances as significant others at one point or another in each of these ladies lives.
Although somewhat predictable, MOTHER AND CHILD isn’t meant to be surprising but rather to introduce us to different aspects of love and therefore pain that comes with adoption. The direction is strong, transitioning between each of the storylines and the actors shine bringing a greater heart to the film. The one problem comes with the script that I don’t believe knows its complete motivation. Some scenes seemed unnecessarily tacked on without much overall purpose. I felt Lucy’s story was a little short changed when it possibly could have been the most impactful. Nonetheless, the film did bring a new perspective and had a few emotionally moving moments.
I personally have several friends who have either been adopted or have adopted children of their own. I’ve always been quite impressed and fascinated by the act of the adoptive child and parent coming together. I’ve also wondered about the curiosity that might come in finding one’s biological parents, the history of where they came from and how they came to be. While I think MOTHER AND CHILD could have done more, it is an interesting topic with many more facets that I hope will be explored further in the future.
Video: The picture is vibrant and clean.
Audio: The film is basically composed of small intimate dialogue. Great audio isn’t necessary but it comes through clearly.
Creating The Family Tree (13:39): Director and Writer Rodrigo Garcia discuss the evolution of the script and characters. Then they discuss the different casting choices and what they brought to the film.
Universally Connected (15:27): Many people involved in the film discuss how the script and characters relate to people and life mixed with scenes from the film. This comes off as a little prententious and boring.
Deleted Scenes (3:42): Three short unnecessary scenes hardly worth keeping on the Blu-ray.