A lot or a little?
Parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.