The Mother

New York Premiere

U.K. | 112 MINUTES | English |


In this thoughtful exploration of sexuality, creativity, and regret, May and Toots are retired suburban grandparents, clearly disoriented by the frenetic lives their grown children live. When they go to London to visit their son Bobby and their daughter Paula, everyone but Darren, the friendly carpenter working on Bobby's house, seems too busy to notice them. Toots' sudden death before the end of the visit turns May's world upside down, however. She decides to move in with Paula rather than return to the suburbs to face her final years alone. That arrangement suits the self-absorbed Paula just fine, since she envisions May as the answer to her childcare woes. But May didn't flee the suburbs just to replicate her old life somewhere else. Instead she discovers renewed vigor, begins to appreciate art, speaks up where she would normally keep quiet, and follows through on her attraction to the virile Darren, who is 30 years her junior and, as May soon learns, Paula's lover as well. The resulting turmoil is rendered with exceptional skill on all levels, as the film leads us to wonderful and unexpected places. Hanif Kureishi's (My Beautiful Laundrette) spare screenplay focuses on the questions that lie unanswered in all of us, and Roger Michell's (Persuasion, Changing Lanes, and Notting Hill) direction brings them to the surface in charming and surprising ways.