5.4/10
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13 user 27 critic

Cotton Mary (1999)

R | | Drama | 17 December 1999 (UK)
A British family is trapped between culture, tradition, and the colonial sins of the past.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lily MacIntosh
...
Cotton Mary
...
John MacIntosh
Sarah Badel ...
Mrs Evans
Riju Bajaj ...
Mugs
Gerson Da Cunha ...
Doctor Correa
...
Mrs Smythe
...
Blossom (Mary's sister)
...
Rosie
...
Mrs Freda Davids
Firdausi Jussawalla ...
Mr. Panamal
Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal ...
Matron
Nadira ...
Mattie
Prayag Raj ...
Abraham (as Prayag Raaj)
...
Inspector Ramiji Raj
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Storyline

1954, the Malabar Coast. British and Anglo-Indian identities blur when an English-woman with a neglectful husband births a sickly baby. Cotton Mary, a hospital aide and moralizing Anglophile who claims her father was a British officer, takes over the infant's care and, without a word to the mother, takes the baby daily to her sister to nurse. Mary moves into the English household, taking over more and more duties as she plays on the mother's fatigue and lack of spousal counsel: in effect, Mary colonizes the English household while she pilfers its stores and tells tall tales to her own family. For how long can Mary sustain her rule before the Englishwoman stands on her own feet? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

17 December 1999 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A házvezetőnő  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$24,680 (USA) (17 March 2000)

Gross:

$299,351 (USA) (20 October 2000)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

As Theresa is walking along with the procession she passes an Indian boy in the crowd who waves at the camera. See more »

Connections

Features Aar-Paar (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Too Young
Written by Sidney Lippman and Sylvia Dee
Published by Campbell Connelly & Co. Ltd.
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User Reviews

Death by Merchant-Ivory
25 July 2002 | by (St. Albans,VT) – See all my reviews

Don't get me wrong, there are Merchant-Ivory films I've really loved, like "Room With A View" and "Remains of the Day." But M-I films either suck you in or they don't, and halfway through this one made me wish I had a 'relief video' handy, perhaps one with car chases and explosions.

For one thing, the title character, a thieving, scheming servant, was completely unlikable. There was no attempt to draw humor from the situation. For another, the character played by Greta Scacchi, an actress I love, was a hopeless dupe. Not only did she seem unaware of the very existence of baby bottles and wet nurses, but one would think that an upper class British woman in India would have a well-developed radar for servant politics and shenanigans.

Lastly, the film would have you believe that Cotton Mary could take a baby, ship it across the river to her sister's compound to nurse, ship it back - and still have time for her various plots? As I recall, the little buggers want to feed pretty often.

If you want to see an allegory on British colonialism in south Asia, watch "A Passage to India" or "The Man Who Would Be King," the latter having more action in any three minutes of its running time than "Cotton" had in its entire length.


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