Parents' Guide to

Mother and Child

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Adoption drama probes complex anger, heartbreak, hope.

Movie R 2010 125 minutes
Mother and Child Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 1 parent review

age 17+

Incredibly powerful and emotionally charged drama.

OMG ...... i cried alot watching this movie, i seriously did. Mother and Child" is a drama about three women connected by their roles in an adoption. Adoption has had a deep impact on each of their lives. Karen (Annette Bening) is a bitter, fifty-year-old, health care professional who takes care of her distant, defeatist mother. Karen has never gotten over the loss of the baby girl that her mother forced her give up when she was a teen. Karen's heart has been closed off for so long that she doesn't know how to respond to the attention from the new physical therapist (Jimmy Smits) at work. Elizabeth (Naomi Watts) was adopted by an uncaring couple. Shrouded in protective armer, she has grown up to be a cold, steely lawyer in complete control of her life. When she is hired at a new firm, she uses sex to control her boss and keep him at safe distance. Lucy, (Kerry Washington) a successful baker and loving wife, has failed to conceive with her husband. She is bound and determined to adopt a baby - even if that includes anxiously jumping through hoops created by the baby's birth mother (Shareeka Epps.) This film shows the filial longing and loss caused by breaking the natural bond between mother and child. Some viewers may complain that the fathers are conspicuously absent. The male characters are relegated to supporting roles in the world of, "Mother and Child." It is film for single mothers who made the difficult decision to put their baby up for adoption, the children they lost, and the people who love them. The film is beautifully directed and the plots are all well conceived, though and Oscar nomination must surely be coming Mr Garcias way. i really hope it gets OSCAR nominations though no one is talking about it. Annette Bening is staggeringly brilliant in her role. She's a prickly and largely unappealing character, but the actress brings such humanity to the performance as a woman whose heart is slowly coming to life. Naomi Watts also brings nuance and humanity to a flawed and complex character. Kerry Washington was brilliant too. In a world where characters must always be "likeable," these performances feel like revelations. Direction is consistently sensitive and intelligent. The script deftly moves between three worlds, with intersections that are surprising and never feel forced. If Mother and Child doesn't garner wide distribution (and an Oscar nod for Ms. Bening) then this industry is deeply flawed. Ed Sharmour's musical score adds another dimension to the overall effect of the film. Rodrigo Garcia deserves to be seen more often. He certainly is a talented man that will, no doubt, go to bigger and more important things in the future. Brilliant movie, astonishing great performances. One of the BEST movies of this year, i truly loved it. MUST WATCH this powerful and emotionally charged drama.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1):
Kids say: Not yet rated

The first 10 minutes may just be one of the most powerful-yet-economical beginnings to a movie yet, with a scene of two teenagers making out that hurtles forward into the present. Swiftly, we know where the characters are; how they got there; how they're shaped. Bening is in fine form with her brittle Karen whose calcified heart has entombed years of pain; Watts, meanwhile, frightens (in a good way) with her fearlessness. Her Elizabeth is strong and broken, distant and compelling. In short, she's fully formed and convincing -- and there aren't many film roles written this way anymore. Neither are there enough actresses with the chops to pull off such icy, yet moving, character. Washington holds her own against this formidable duo.

To be sure, critics may take offense at moments of heavy-handedness: Why, for instance, must the film's sage be portrayed by a blind woman? (Woody Allen's been there, done that in Crimes And Misdemeanors). And why must Elizabeth's suitor (Samuel L. Jackson, achingly vulnerable) be inhumanly perfect? But Mother and Child is a beautiful movie, period, one that deserves to be seen by those who can handle the film's emotional intensity. Prepare for some unabashed weeping.

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