Francesa Kinsolving, a very pregnant widow whose husband was rescently killed in action in Vietnam, travels to visit her late husband's mother in a snowy Minnesota town only to get snowed ... See full summary »
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Juan Felipe Orozco
Silvia De Dios
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Francesa Kinsolving, a very pregnant widow whose husband was rescently killed in action in Vietnam, travels to visit her late husband's mother in a snowy Minnesota town only to get snowed in during a fierce blizard where she's forced to wait it out only to slowly uncover some terrible dark secrets that Mrs. Kinsolving has been hiding, one of them is her psychotic other son, a recent escapee from a lunatic asylum, who is shacked up in the basement of the house. Written by
Filmed at the Congdon Mansion in Duluth, MN. After the murder of mansion owner and prominent heiress Elisabeth Congdon in 1977, a movie theatre in Duluth revived the movie at midnight showings (much to the chagrin of the Congdon family). See more »
The closing credits roll down instead of up. See more »
Francesca Kinsolving (Patty Duke) is having the kind of "bad day" that makes you want to slap yourself viciously for ever thinking that you had one. Only a few weeks ago, she found out her soldier husband was K.I.A. in Vietnam, and now she is HUGELY pregnant, with the baby due in...oh, about five minutes from yesterday! With no family of her own, she remembers her hubby's promise that when they got a chance to visit his family in upstate New England, she would really take a shine to them and they to her. Especially his dear, sainted mother.
So, off she goes, not letting anything get in the way of her visit (except maybe that monstrous belly); even an impending blizzard that is well on the way by the time she arrives.
But speaking of blizzards, isn't it lovely that Francesca gets a glacial welcome from her hubby's iceberg of a monster mother, Mrs. Kinsolving (Rosemary Murphy), who definitely seems a lot more put-out than pleased to see her? Oh, and then there's Kenny (Richard Thomas), her alleged "brother-in-law," whose personality not only makes Peter Lorre look like Brad Pitt, but seems to be a little too close to Mama for comfort. And please welcome to the mix Kenny's "sister" Kathleen (Sian-Barbara Allen), who is, shall we say in the spirit of remaining PC, "special?" Put them all together in a big old house during a dire winter storm out in the middle of nowhere, and you've got yourself one cracking good W.I.P thriller!
YOU'LL LIKE MY MOTHER was based on a popular novel of the decade written by Naomi Hintze, with a screenplay by Jo Heims (whose script for the Clint Eastwood vehicle PLAY MISTY FOR ME is the whole reason why Glenn Close was even able to HAVE a "fatal attraction.") TV vet Lamont Johnson does a great job ratcheting up the suspense at an unbearably slow and steady pace, as Our Heroine discovers that her extended "family" is not at all what it seems, and that she has to somehow get herself and her child out of harm's way with virtually no one to help her, before "something REALLY BAD happens," as it always does in such thrillers.
As audiences these days have become bloodthirsty gorehounds, who like their screen sacrifices freshly squeezed and slashed, and right often, MOTHER might be too slow and stately, from a more "genteel" time when the term "nail-biting" didn't refer to a shot to the chops with an industrial-strength nail gun. Patty Duke as Francesca shows without a doubt that talent does travel through the genes (which is likely where sons Sean and Mackenzie Astin got most of theirs from), stage and screen vet Murphy crackles as Mom, and then up-and-coming actress Allen gives a poignant and startling performance as the feeble sister who really is a lot more "special" than anybody realizes.
But the biggest treat on hand is Richard Thomas. Here, he sinks his teeth into a completely demented pre-"Waltons" performance that will leave you gasping, especially those fans of the gently rural show who thought they "knew" who John-Boy was. Turns out...naaaawwww, you DIDN'T! (Heh-heh!)
MOTHER comes highly recommended for those who enjoyed W.I.P. movies like DEAD OF WINTER, (which bears a striking resemblance to MOTHER) or WHEN A STRANGER CALLS, (the Carol Kane original, not the obnoxious remake.) In fact, it would make a great Saturday night double-feature with either.
Oh, and contrary to popular belief, MOTHER was NOT originally a T.V. movie. Considering it's over thirty years old, that's a forgivable mistake, since that's where most people see it now. This was yet another great theatrical effort that came out of Bing Crosby Productions (!!!) during that time period, when they cranked out the hits like the original versions of WALKING TALL, (in which Murphy co-starred with Joe-Don Baker), WILLARD and of course its sequel, BEN.
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