American Playhouse: Season 9, Episode 4

Andre's Mother (7 Mar. 1990)

TV Episode  |   |  Comedy, Drama
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 119 users  
Reviews: 8 user

Three days in the life of the lover, Mother and Grandmother of Andre who has just died of AIDS.



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Title: Andre's Mother (07 Mar 1990)

Andre's Mother (07 Mar 1990) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Episode credited cast:
Cal Porter - Andre's lover
Katherine Gerard - Andre's Mother
Mrs. Downs - Andre's Grandmother
Richard Venture ...
Penny - Cal's Sister
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Arthur Hanket ...
Kim Shambach ...
Young Mother
Nick Smith ...
Balloon Vendor


Cal is a young writer living in New York when he meets and falls in love with Andre, an aspiring actor. Andre's mother visits from Texas, and has a hard time dealing with her son's relationship and lifestyle, despite Cal's efforts to become her friend. Andre's irascible grandmother is more accepting, but her daughter is intransigent in her disapproval. A call from Cal to Andre's mother in the middle of the night is her first indication that her son was dealing with AIDS - and was against letting her know. Written by Ron Kerrigan <>

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Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

7 March 1990 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

A beautiful film
1 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Terrence McNally's "Andre's Mother" had a profound effect on me when I saw it. In the '80s and early '90s, there were a plethora of AIDS dramas, but I think this has to be one of the best.

The film basically deals with the problems of Andre's mother coping with losing her son and meeting his lover, played by Richard Thomas. The conceit here is that her son is never seen, only talked about. It works extremely well. Thompson portrays a very conservative, stiff, uncomfortable woman who is unsettled when she arrives in New York and has to deal with her son's life. Sylvia Sidney plays Thompson's mother, and you can see the genesis of a lot of Thompson's problems are based in her rocky relationship with her own mother. Both women give magnificent performances. Thompson's every move and facial expression is perfect. At her son's service, the mourners stand with balloons to release. Thompson stands like a martinet, awkwardly holding her balloon, her facial expression blank. "I don't think she has any idea about the balloons," someone whispers. And then she flashes on being on the beach with her son when he was a child. When it is time to let go of the balloon, she is ready, perhaps for the first time, to truly love him as he was and to let go of everything but that love.

Richard Thomas is excellent as a very self-possessed man, being polite as he endeavors to share what he knew of his lover with Thompson. His almost business-like handing Thompson a photo is softened by his great pride in the relationship he shared with her son. Only when he finds that holding back his own emotions haven't worked to reach this woman, who seems to him to be made of granite rock, does he let go.

I highly recommend this amazing and wonderful movie to anyone who has an opportunity to see it.

*I'm referring to Thompson's son as Andre, but I'm not sure that was his name. I thought the title came from Richard Thomas' outburst toward her toward the end of the film, when he compares her to "Andre's mother" in a comic strip, a woman who never did anything but was talked about a good deal. "You're Andre's mother!" he screams at her. Perhaps the young man's actual name was never used, perhaps it was Andre, or perhaps I am not remembering correctly.

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