Staff Pick: The Mother (2004 DVD)

the mother dvd coverHummmm…”’M’ is for the million things she gave me, ‘O’ means only that she’s growing old…,” oh, forget it. That song’s all wrong for this little jewel of a movie. The movie is The Mother, a title that evokes strong feelings of security and love, but there’s not much of either to go around here for this bunch who are a family in name only.

Grandma May (Anne Reid) and grandpa Toots (Peter Vaughan) have come to London to visit their grandchildren and children, Bobby (Steven Mackintosh) and Paula (Cathryn Bradshaw), but it’s obvious that they’re strangers even though they’re only a tube ride away. Her adolescent grandson has to ask who they are when they walk through the door. When grandpa dies during the visit, the distance between the mother and her children is painfully evident when they pass her back and forth, too wrapped up in their own lives to help her through her grieving.

Then we notice Darren (Daniel Craig), who is renovating Bobby’s home and having an affair with Paula. And May notices, too, befriending him in the quiet hours of the day when her family is gone. They talk, eat lunch together, and it’s not long before she asks him to come with her to the spare room.

The Mother isn’t a pat movie. Bobby and Paula might not be all that likeable, but May might not be the martyred mother she appears to be. True, her son is self-absorbed and her daughter is a package of jagged nerves and low self-esteem, but they might have their reasons for distancing themselves from the mother who was distant to them in childhood. So who here gets blaming rights? And when money gets introduced into the little love affair, dear old mum proves to be just as controlling and selfish as her younger counterparts.

The Mother trailer