By S. Jhoanna Robledo,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Parenting dramedy entertains but unlikely to appeal to kids.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Though both Eliza and her husband struggle with how to shape their identities in the face of enormous parenting responsibilities, it's clear that they value each other and the life they've made together. There's a pragmatic message in here, too: That you can find yourself somewhere completely unexpected, glamorous plans waylaid, and still be happy. But happiness is a squirmy thing, and it requires work.
Positive Role Models
There's no doubt that Eliza feels overwhelmed by her mothering duties and sometimes resents the fact that her husband works in an office while she's at home juggling both kids and a semblance of a work life. She also makes some missteps in friendship matters (like including her best friend's real name in her blog). But her love for her children is palpable, and she appears to be an engaged parent. She and her husband, despite their tensions, also seem devoted to each another and to their family. And there's something admirable in someone who at the very least strives to accept her limitations and find the joy in them.
Violence & Scariness
A woman gets into an argument in the middle of a street with a man who calls her a name. A few other yelling exchanges.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Women disrobe to their underwear at a sample sale, where a pregnant woman also discusses pleasuring herself with one of her children's bath toys (she also mentions a sex toy). A married mother of two flirts with a much younger man. A couple has an honest conversation about sex -- or, rather, the lack thereof -- and marriage.
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Fairly salty, though not constant. Words include "s--t," "goddamn," "wanker," "piss," "ass," "bloody," "dickhead," "crap," and a use of "f--k." Also, a character mouths the word "c--t."
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Products & Purchases
Labels visible for cameras, printers, and computers (Apple).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
References to gin and "reefer."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this Uma Thurman dramedy offers a fairly unvarnished look at parenthood that will appeal much more to moms and dads (who will be able to relate to the subject matter) than to their kids. Teens who do opt in will find some humor in the movie's honesty about the challenges and hassles of having children, but younger kids may be put off by that same frankness. That said, the main characters clearly love their families ... even if they do sometimes yell at each other, swear (including "s--t" and one use of "f--k"), and make other mistakes.
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Based on 4 parent reviews
Didn't finish the movie because it inappropriate for families.
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Not worth watching... Boring...
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What's the Story?
Eliza Welsh's (Uma Thurman) frenzied day begins the moment she sets one foot out of bed and onto the floor. From then on, it's an energetic ballet that requires her to pirouette from school drop-offs to picking up the supplies for her daughter's birthday party to walking the dog to snagging a discounted dress at a sample sale with her pregnant best friend (Minnie Driver), all while caring for her son and swapping schedules with her equally taxed husband, Avery (Anthony Edwards). And somewhere amid the chaos is a writing contest that Eliza, a parenting blogger, wants to enter so she can finally secure a regular paying gig ... if only she can find the time to gather her thoughts and distill what motherhood really means to her.
Is It Any Good?
There's nothing in MOTHERHOOD that most of us haven't already seen or read, but what a relief to hash through it again with empathy and humor. Short on originality but strong in voice and storytelling, this dramedy will have moms (and dads) relieved that an essential truth about parenting -- that on a daily basis, it really can be a numbing grind -- is presented as-is, without the requisite "of course it's all worth it." The ecstasy outweighs the agony -- many parents say so -- but too often we feel guilty admitting the downsides.
Thurman goes unpretty here, and though it doesn't really work (she's still more glamorous than most moms), she surrenders to the role, and the film is better for it. A scene that has her confronting Avery (Edwards is excellent) is stunning in its authenticity. All the performances are spot on, actually, and a moment that has Eliza reliving her youth under the watchful gaze of an admirer is enervating. Best of all is the movie's faithful rendering of a day in a life of a Manhattan mom. Unlike in reality shows, they're not all catty housewives. It's just too bad that an unlikely plot point near the end strains the credibility a little too far.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Eliza's daily life. Does it seem realistic or exaggerated for cinematic effect? Is it an accurate representation of modern family life?
What are the different styles of parenting that the movie references? What is it trying to say about motherhood and fatherhood? Are the parents in this movie good role models? Why or why not?
- In theaters: October 23, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: February 23, 2010
- Cast: Anthony Edwards, Minnie Driver, Uma Thurman
- Director: Katherine Dieckmann
- Studio: Freestyle Releasing
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language, sexual references and a brief drug comment
- Last updated: January 9, 2023
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