Thursday, May 13, 2010


Mother and Child

Mother and Child The bond between a mother and a child is probably the most profound and universal human relationship. Some mothers experience this bond with their biological children or with their adopted children, and some others suffer the emotional impact after giving their children up for adoption. From the creator of "Six Feet Under" and "Nine Lives," writer/director Rodrigo García's absorbing drama "Mother and Child" (USA/Spain 2009 | 126 min.) carefully depicts this unique human relationship through a few rich and memorable characters and three intertwined stories.

The film's three subplots are all set in Los Angeles. Elizabeth (Naomi Watts) is a young ambitious and smart lawyer who knows how to take control by using not only her intelligence, but also her sex appeal; Karen (Annette Bening) is a bitter and difficult woman who is tormented by the longing to her never-seen daughter who was given up for adoption at birth by her mother decades ago, when Karen was only fourteen years old; Lucy (Kerry Washington) wants to be a mother but is unable to conceive. Out of desperation, she plans to adopt a child from a college student through an adoption agency.

Believe it or not, the three stories are predictably connected to each other, while sharing a common theme related to motherhood and adoption. However, this convenience in plot is easily forgiven due to the strong characters involved in these stories and terrific across-the-board performance. Well written and convincing dialogues also contribute to the success of shaping these remarkable roles.

Each woman in the film has a strong personality. In particular, Annette Bening's character Karen stands out. Her journey to find peace and closure with her past could have easily become sentimental. Yet, Annette Bening's subtle and calibrated acting perfectly holds the character's balance.

Annette Bening as Karen in MOTHER AND CHILD, Photo by Ralph Nelson

Perhaps Rodrigo García already tells enough stories (also intertwined tales about three families) regarding male relationship in his previous film "Fathers and Sons," in this film, he focuses on female relationship in a family, even he does not choose a title like "Mothers and Daughters." Whether between fathers and sons or between mothers and daughters, Rodrigo García's observant studies about the most fundamental human relationship are worth noting.

"Mother and Child" opens on Friday, May 14, 2010 at Bay Area theaters.

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