The Mother Roger Michell

The Mother Roger Michell
This film continues the pendulum swing of the past couple years towards giving the discontented, over the hill housewife a voice. Even though they have a wrinkle or two, they're just as horny as the rest of us so why not afford them the same indulgence to shout it from rooftops? In this case, which is reminiscent of the critically acclaimed Calendar Girls, we have another British movie daring to contemplate a generation of June Cleavers who have raised children and been a "mother" for longer than not. May (Anne Reid) is a run of the mill mother/grandmother who, on a trip to London with her husband Toots (Peter Vaughan), unexpectedly has her whole life turned upside down when he dies suddenly. Faced with the daunting thought of having to return to her suburban life alone, May seeks refuge in the home of her children. Daughter Paula (played brilliantly by Cathryn Bradshaw) is a complete and utter mess, rife with insecurities and the all-too-familiar "blame mom for everything wrong in my life" issues. Son Bobby (Steven Mackintosh) is a workaholic stuck in what appears to be an emotionless marriage. When Darren (Daniel Craig), a dashing builder working on Bobby's home, is introduced into the family's drama, it is not as a distant and aloof worker but as Paula's lover, who by the way is also married.

Somehow, May and Darren end up getting it on, repeatedly, commencing a torrid affair the likes of which previously had not been captured on film. Seriously, the sex scenes graphically depict the vulnerability of an older woman (May, as her catatonic sexuality awakens) and the boyish pleasure a younger man, Darren, we presume must get out of it all. In the end, while May gets her groove back in grand fashion, her judgement goes straight to hell. While the plot is at times trite, there is something about the earnest realism in this film, made palpable with the voyeuristic shots and awkward silent moments, that makes it something to remember. So much so that I still can't shake the resonating irritation that age does not always bring wisdom. (Mongrel Media)