In 'Gegen die Wand' Cahit, a 40-something male from Mersin in Turkey has removed everything Turkish from his life. He has become an alcoholic drug addict and at the start of the movie wants... See full summary »
Toots and May's marriage is one of Toots being dependent on his wife. Shortly after Toots and May arrive in London to visit with their grown children Bobby and Paula and their respective children, Toots falls ill and dies. Toots' death brings to the surface the underlying strain that has always existed between May and both of her two children, and the unhappy lives they have all led. Now specifically with Paula, May is disapproving of her relationship with a construction worker named Darren. Not only does May think his occupation makes him beneath Paula, he's also a married man. Darren is in an unsatisfying marriage but doesn't want to leave it if only because of his son. Even after May gets to know and like Darren, she still encourages Paula to break up with him. The issue is is that May herself has fallen in love with Darren, the two who begin a sexual relationship. What will ultimately happen between May and Darren also depends on Darren, who is floundering in his own life and ... Written by
When Darren and Toots are discussing cricket, the reflections of crew equipment and the camera dolly mount are visible in the glass of the sunroom windows. See more »
Is there anything I'm good at? What do I want to do? What do I like? Well, I'm going to find out.
Paula, is there anything I can do?
Ah, at last! God! Yeah! I've been thinking about it for a few days actually. I think... I think I would like to hit you. Do you understand that?
[matter of factly]
[Paula nods affirmatively]
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There's a very fine review by law prof on these pages and not much for me to add. Ann Reid puts in a superb performance as the middle-aged mum whose desires are re-awakened by her bullying husband's sudden death and Daniel Craig plays the Rough Trade tradesman with great gusto. There's also a wonderful cameo from Oliver Ford Davies as an elderly and inept suitor for Mum's hand. The story is told very clearly with sparkling photography the cheerful visual atmosphere being rather at odds with the grim storyline.
My problem however with the film is that everyone in it is either completely repulsive (eg the son and daughter in law and the rough tradesman) or is behaving badly. Mum is a sympathetic character but she makes all the wrong choices, and behaves pretty selfishly, though we do get an inkling as to why. She wouldn't be the first Mum to kick over the traces after a long marriage to a dominant partner. But we wind up feeling sorry for her daughter rather than Mum because she gets done over, not because she is otherwise sympathetic.
The trouble with movies like this that, though they are true to life and emotionally convincing, they leave an unpleasant aftertaste. Are we all that selfish and immature? Well, families are dangerous places and the majority of murders are committed by a member of the victim's families, but relatively speaking murder is a rare crime. Competition between mother and daughter for the same (trashy) lover is probably pretty rare also. When it does happen, a film about it is probably justified. Still, at the end we wind up with no-one to like, which rather muffles the impact of the story.
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