Movie: The Mother

The Mother
Length: 1 hour, 51 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: 2004-07-23
Cast: Anne Reid, Steven Mackintosh, Daniel Craig, Peter Vaughan, Cathryn Bradshaw
Director: Roger Michell
Screenwriter: Hanif Kureishi
WorkNameSort: The Mother
Our Rating: 4.00

Anybody who thought that Diane Keaton's tearful soaking of the furniture in Something's Gotta Give was a triumph for the cause of older women on the screen needs to make an appointment with The Mother. Anne Reid, an actress with gobs of artistic acumen and taste, plays May, a newly widowed British senior who responds to the onrush of personal irrelevancy in a questionable way: by bedding down with the married, frequently shirtless homebuilder who's already having an affair with her daughter. The movie is slow going at first – writer Hanif Kureishi (My Beautiful Laundrette) seems uncomfortable with having May's husband just kick off immediately, which is all he really needs to do. But when the cross-generational rutting gets under way, and May's kids tumble to it, Kureishi and director Roger Michell (of the overpraised Changing Lanes) allow themselves to plumb the narrative potential of a situation that basically boils down to the laddish protest, "Not with my Mum, mate!" From there, the movie truly gets down to dramatic business, transcending age and gender considerations to make May a poster woman for the philosophy that everyone's life path is their own business to determine.

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