Mother and Child (2009)

Mother and Child is Rodrigo García‘s newest film, starring Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits, David Ramsey, Shareeka Epps and David Morse.

35 years ago, Karen (Annette Bening) was a teenage mum and gave up her daughter for adoption – a fact that she never really got over. She’s grown to be quite eccentric and still obsessed with her lost child, when new co-worker Paco (Jimmy Smits) starts to break through her shell.
Elizabeth (Naomi Watts) is a successful lawyer and knows exactly what she wants – and a child or any kind of stable relationship is definitely not part of her plans since she’s pretty traumatised by having been given up for adoption herself. But an affair with her new boss Paul (Samuel L. Jackson) fits perfectly.
Lucy (Kerry Washington) can’t have children herself. Therefore she and her husband Joseph (David Ramsey) are looking to adopt.

Mother and Child was a weird bit of film. It wasn’t bad but there were quite a few what the fuck moments. In the end it dies of its own seriousness, despite the good cast.

The movie was going for portraying complicated women with complex relationships with each other. A very noble feat and something that is done much too little. Unfortunately the film falls short of its own marks. While Karen and Elizabeth are headstrong characters and women who know what they want (seen much too little in American movies, too), they are still pretty one-dimensional: in the end both are entirely defined by their need to control everything.

Which also leads to the ickiest sex scene between two consenting and attractive adults (Naomi Watts and Samuel L. Jackson) that I have ever seen. Was it really necessary that she call him an old man and won’t allow him to move? Wouldn’t one of the two things have been enough?

Interestingly enough, the men are relegated to the status women usually have in Hollywood movies: being everything the main character needs them to be, for no apparent reason other than the main character needs them to be that way. Just because the genders are changed around doesn’t make it a good practice, though.

The only storyline I was really interested in was Lucy’s and her quest to adopt. That’s mostly due to Kerry Washington who stole everybody’s show – and with a cast like that, that’s quite a feat. Loved her. But like all of the storylines the drama gets upped and upped and upped until I could just roll  my eyes anymore.

After seeing this movie, I feel that as the sister of several adopted children it is my duty to tell you: Not all adoptions end in absolute devastating drama.

Summarising: Uhm, yeah, skippable.


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