Amazon Holiday

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mother and Child

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: 37 years after a teenage girl gives up her child for adoption, she (Annette Bening) is still haunted by the ways in which it ruined her life. Meanwhile, the daughter she doesn't know (Naomi Watts) has grown up to be cold and independent to a fault. And in a separate story, a woman who can't conceive (Kerry Washington), struggles to adopt a child of her own.

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Kerry Washington, Jimmy Smits, Samuel L. Jackson, Elpidia Carrillo, Shareeka Epps, S. Epatha Merkerson, Marc Blucas, Cherry Jones, Carla Gallo, Britt Robertson, David Morse, Amy Brenneman, Simone Lopez, Tatyana Ali, David Ramsey, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Eileen Ryan

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketProceed with Caution. This is a gut-wrenching, powerful drama that all women will be able to relate to, as well as those few men who are in touch with their feminine sides. In other words, while this is a great movie, it may appeal to men about as much as No Country for Old Men appeals to women.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: For a movie that is in no way billed as a comedy, you will be surprised at how many laughs fill each scene. But be warned, they are sophisticated laughs, about the real problems people sometimes have being nice to each other when the world around them seems to have nothing good to offer.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: Yes, and you won't even have to feel ashamed about it.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: I foresee some acting awards, as well as a screenplay nomination from the Independent Spirit Awards.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: Annette Bening is so good that she manages to make herself look ugly using nothing but her personality. And by the way, Naomi Watts goes full frontal.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: Rodrigo Garcia openly admits to not knowing how to direct actors. Instead of directing them, he is picky and painstakingly meticulous about casting the right person in each role, after which his technique is (and I quote): "When you have an actor who knows what he's doing, you as the director would do best to become the follower, not the leader. After all, you still get to take credit for their amazing work."

Q: How is the story/script?

A: Garcia enjoys leaving key details out of the dialogue, but most of them are well explained without words. He magically captures the unpredictable responses of that woman we've all encountered, whose life is going horribly. You know, the one who's always right in front of you in line at the post office or the grocery, yelling at the clerk for seemingly no reason besides that she really needs a punching bag today.

Q: Is there anything else worth mentioning about the movie?

A: I learned in the Q & A that Samuel L. Jackson can be lured to most movies by that little brown envelope they call per diem and a guarantee of 2 days a week to play golf at the production company's expense.

Q: Where can I see the trailer?


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richard M said...

1.Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: (official credits order) Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington, Jimmy Smits, and Samuel L. Jackson,.....

Whether Ms Watts goes full-frontal or not in the film is NOT important, let alone when the Q is about acting. She didn't deliver a performance that is equally "so good" as Bening's, if not better, according to some critics by going full-frontal but by her acting.

Monique Elisabeth said...

Thanks for your input, Richard.

As to the official credit order, that is often decided based on contract negotiations. Watts is a bigger star than Bening, so it's normal that she gets top billing, but IMO, Bening's role is bigger and more pivotal. This is something of an ensemble piece, but Bening is the primary main character, without whom the story would have no beginning, middle, or end, (which is not to say that Watt's role isn't almost as big and equally as important.)

Regarding the full frontal comment, my readership cares about stuff like that, and I like to give them what they want. She is a good actress, and she plays her role as any professional should, flawlessly, but she doesn't do anything noteworthy in this movie besides take off her clothes. The good acting, is just part of doing her job. It's not that hard of a role for a pro, she's cold and hard. Done. Bening stands out as going above and beyond-- as usual-- by literally looking like a different person at the beginning and the end of the movie. Her role is much more complex to pull off, and she kills it.

Richard M said...

Sorry, I too have seen the film and I don't think as opposed to Naomi Watts, Bening stands out or has done anything noteworthy besides some very pretentious dialogues. She too is a pro and her performance is also just part of doing her job, which also any professional should as it is not that hard too.
And of course her role is supporting.

Below are a few comments from the film critics:

"A love letter to motherhood...the one movie you must treat your mom to this Mothers Day. A tough minded yet delicate drama. Naomi Watts is handed one of the most tantalizing roles of her career, and she comes through with a blazing, faceted performance."
- Caryn James, Marie Claire

"For a far more satisfying bit of Oscar bait, see Rodrigo Garcia’s Mother and Child, .... on the strength of Naomi Watts’s wondrously heartless performance alone."
- Peter Hemminge, Film Features

"The winner in the bunch is Naomi Watts who, in a terrific performance, plays Elizabeth, ...."
- Matt Singer, IFC

Monique Elisabeth said...

As far as the performances go, we're going to have to agree to disagree. Which is ironic, considering we both agree that both performances are very good.

As far as the critics go, I became a critic myself because I realized that the critics you site are completely out of touch with modern day mainstream audiences, and I wanted to fill the void, by providing reviews that are not based on the artistry of a film, but rather on the entertainment value of a film. Yes, I provide questions that scratch the surface of the individual artists' accomplishments, when they are noteworthy. But my goal and my brand involve leaving pretension at the door, and getting to the bottom of the matter, which is to answer the question "Are you the right audience member for this film or not?" Because that's what most people are trying to figure out when they read a review.

Bottom line, I do not need the validation of other critics to know that I am right. I am a professional, working in show biz for the last 15 years, and my success is proof enough that I know what I'm talking about.