Motherhood

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Motherhood Movie Poster Image
Parenting dramedy entertains but unlikely to appeal to kids.
  • PG-13
  • 2009
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

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 & representations

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

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.

Sex

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.

Language

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.”

Consumerism

Labels visible for cameras, printers, and computers (Apple).

Drinking, drugs & smoking

References to gin and "reefer."

What 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.

User Reviews

Parent of an infant and 3 year old Written byGambleFam August 19, 2010

Not worth watching... Boring...

My wife and I watched this one. Was quite boring... One sence referenced a women pleasuring herself with a childs bath toy. Bottom line the movie wasn't a...
Parent Written byCianelli January 7, 2012

Didn't finish the movie because it inappropriate for families.

About 15 minutes into the move a character yells the c--t word. PG 13 really? We let our 11year old watch PG 13 because we also have a 15 year old. It's...
Kid, 11 years old February 7, 2010

Adults might like it a little; kids like me will HATE it!

I personally hated this movie, but CSM is right, mom's and dad's might like it. Definitely will not appeal to kids! First off, is the language. They u...

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?

Movie details

For kids who love movie moms and dads

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