Mothers and Daughters

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Mothers and Daughters Movie Poster Image
Some drinking, drugs in overwrought all-star drama.
  • PG-13
  • 2016
  • 90 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The bond between mothers and daughters is strong and profound and can withstand even intense conflict.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All of the mother-daughter relationships in this film are complex in their own way and often strained, but it's clear that, despite some anger and disappointment, there is love, and the warm feelings almost always overcome the negative ones.

Violence

Heated arguments. One scene shows an encounter that comes close to sexual assault; a very drunk girl is almost taken advantage of by a predatory man, but the encounter is disrupted before anything serious takes place.

Sex

Kissing. An unexpected pregnancy.

Language

Infrequent language includes "hell," "bastard" and "goddammit."

Consumerism

Almost every character seems to have an iPhone or a Mac laptop, and some have both. Several conversations take place via FaceTime on people's computers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking. A minor character smokes weed for medical reasons. One scene at a bar shows people getting very drunk, including a character who ends up passing out.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mothers and Daughters follows several vaguely connected storylines about (no surprise) mother-daughter relationships that have varying levels of conflict and harmony. The all-star (if hardly diverse) cast includes Susan Sarandon, Sharon Stone, Selma Blair, Christina Ricci, Courteney Cox, and Mira Sorvino. While some scenes do show characters smoking pot (medicinally) and getting drunk, there's not too much swearing ("hell," "goddammit") or sex (kissing). But there is a scene in which a very drunk girl is almost taken advantage of by a predatory man, as well as a storyline that centers around an unplanned pregnancy and a woman who considers getting an abortion. Ultimately, the message is that the bond between mothers and daughters is strong and profound and can withstand even intense conflict.

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What's the story?

Rigby (Selma Blair) is a single career woman whose plans are disrupted by an unexpected event. Georgina (Mira Sorvino) is about to meet the daughter she put up for adoption decades ago. Rebecca (Christina Ricci) has just been thrown for a loop after unearthing a shocking family secret. All of these women are struggling to learn what it means to be MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS. This anthology film follows several vaguely interconnected storylines and features an all-star cast -- including Blair, Sorvino, Ricci, Susan Sarandon, Sharon Stone, and Courteney Cox and Mira Sorvino.

Is it any good?

This drama aims to link disparate plots with a common theme (in this case, motherhood), but it doesn't give any of the stories enough breathing room. With so many stories to tell, it's tough to truly develop the characters, so what we're left with is stereotypes: the angry daughter, the career woman who's too busy to be a parent, the mom who regrets a long-ago decision. We also get speeches focusing on the endless love that pours from the fountain of motherhood, on the life-changing transformation of becoming a parent, and other tender topics.

It doesn't help that the stories are all pretty soapy -- plus, they're all either completely unlikely or oh-so-common. Few of these dilemmas feel like something real people would experience. And since the entire cast is wealthy and white, it's even less likely to ring true for many viewers. Even a stellar cast can't save this overwrought film.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about mother-daughter relationships. Are the characters in Mothers and Daughters relatable? Do their bonds ring true?

  • Which characters are role models? Why? What different types of women do they represent? Are any of them stereotypes? Would you have liked to see a more diverse group of actors?

  • How does the movie portray drinking and drug use? Are they glamorized?

  • Do you like movies that deal with multiple connected storylines? How well does this film pull it off? How does it compare to other movies that use a similar framework?

Movie details

For kids who love movie moms

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