Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mother and Child (Rhoades)

“Mother and Child” Reveals Personal Past
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Here are three parallel stories, one of a mother who gave away her newborn daughter, another about the daughter who has never made contact with her mother. It’s also the story of a barren woman seeking to adopt a baby.

“Mother and Child” – a poignant little indie film about adoption and personal loss – is currently playing at the Tropic Cinema.

Karen (Annette Bening) is a woman who doesn’t let people get close to her. She pushes away the guy at work (Jimmy Smit) who asks her out for coffee. She accuses her Hispanic maid’s daughter of stealing a necklace, only to discover it was a gift. Even by her own admission, she’s difficult.

This is because Karen’s tormented by the fact that she gave up her out-of-wedlock baby. A decision that sent her life reeling off course.

Meanwhile, her daughter (Naomi Watts) has grown up to be an ambitious young lawyer, not above seducing her boss (Samuel L. Jackson) or the husband next door. She seems to have trouble with relationships.

But what would happen to their lives if the mother and daughter met?

Not as easy as one might think, it can only happen by placing a letter in the adoption agency’s file in case the other party might be interested. Bureaucracy and poor filing and tragedy can intervene, even if the attempt is made.

When I screened this film with KONK-AM’s Michael Shields he was moved. Turns out, Michael was given up for adoption and never knew his real mother until he wrote a letter “just like the one in the film.”

“As the film progressed, the drama compelled me to confront my adoption circumstances, and the same unanswered questions resurfaced,” he says.

“Adoption is a stitched-together social fabric, masked in secrecy, to create and hold together lives and hopefully create a new family,” he continues. “It can also expose personal qualities, mostly compassionate, yet sometimes a revelatory underside of identity that is fraught with deep psychological doubts and can leave generational scars. The film closely follows this real-life script.”

He adds, “Bening, Watts, even Jackson, are each well-acted and portrayed. It could have been just another soap-opera, but this film skirted the suds, due to the fine perfs.”

Be sure to tune in to “Art Wave’s Film on Friday” which I co-host with Michael Shields each week on KONK-AM for our discussion of the latest movies headed for the Tropic and the Regal.
[from Solares Hill]

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