Movie Review: Mother and Child

Thursday, May 06, 2010
By Abbey Khan

Three women with three very different lives have one thing in common — adoption. Karen (Annette Bening) is still troubled by her decision of giving up her newborn daughter when she was only 14. Elizabeth (Naomi Watts), a brilliant and driven lawyer, who was adopted as a baby will not allow herself to get close to people, and unable to have a child of her own, Lucy (Kerry Washington) and her husband begin their journey of adopting a baby.

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As the mother of four children who is also the same age as her character Karen, Bening can relate to what her character goes through. “I think for my character that the pressures of the religious atmosphere that she was raised in made it more difficult. I play someone who got pregnant as a teenager and had to give her child away and I certainly knew girls that happened to, and that was a tough situation to go through for girls. And they were made to feel bad and they were made to feel ashamed. Of course, it’s still that way to a degree, but it was even worse when this story happened.”

Both Bening, who is meticulous when choosing roles, and Washington, had only good things to say about the script and their characters. “When I read a script like this and I love it I don’t have to judge it and I don’t have to judge my own character,” Bening said. “You don’t have to be a mom to identify with the film… it’s a universal theme truly,” Washington added.

Coincidentally, Mother and Child comes out the same day as Iron Man 2, in which Samuel L. Jackson also stars. So what’s the difference between a huge budget action film and a lower budgeted independent film? “They’re not that different, just the size of your trailer — that’s it,” Jackson joked.

Recommendation: A+
Writer/director Rodrigo Garcia creates unique characters that you neither love nor hate, but find so intriguing, making you want to follow along on their journeys. As always, Annette Bening gives a standout performance, but Naomi Watts as Elizabeth is the one to watch. She’s complex and removed, and the kind of girl you never want to befriend or betray, but can learn a lot from. With three beautiful leading ladies, most directors would try to play up their outer appearances, but Garcia never once glamorizes the women and lets their acting take precedent. Garcia manages to keep the story and characters fresh throughout the film and brilliantly weaves the stories of these women together that ends both happily and tragically. If there is one movie to watch this year, this is it!

Mother and Child also stars Jimmy Smits and Samuel L. Jackson and is written and directed by Rodrigo Garcia. The Sony Pictures Classics film opens in select movie theaters in New York and Los Angeles on May 7, 2010.

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