Agnes MacDonnell (Greta Scacchi), a strong and self-confident Englishwoman in her forties, owns a large estate on an island off the coast of Northern Ireland. When she begins a passionate ... See full summary »
The Hotel Splendide is on a remote and cold island, accessible only by a once-a-month ferry. It's a dark and dreary spa created by the late Dame Blanche, whose grown children now run the ... See full summary »
Two men become entangled in a torrid love affair with the same woman. Pierre is Miriam's longtime lover. John is desperately searching for clues about his past when he and Miriam have a ... See full summary »
14-year-old György's life is torn apart in World War II Hungary as he is sent to a concentration camp where he is forced to become a man, and learns to find happiness in the midst of hatred, and what it really means to be Jewish.
A group of English gay men get together to reminisce. They are all coming from a wake for one of their circle who's died of AIDS. It's that terrifying time between the outbreak of AIDS and ... See full summary »
A man signs up as a driver for a group of criminals on a dangerous job. On the way to the hit the man hears the lottery numbers and realises he's got the winning ticket on him. However the ... 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
Of all the films I have seen this year (2004), none has affected me as deeply and personally as "The Mother", and on so many levels.
For one thing, watching May deal with the grief and loss and sudden disorientation of widowhood, I could not help wondering how my own mother will cope when the time comes, as it surely must, for her and indeed for all of us.
But, as May's story unfolded, it was my own sense of grief and loss and disorientation that I experienced anew. May and I share something in common: not widowhood, but age, or rather the loss of youth, and the invisibility and untouchability that come with age.
I could relate to May's need for passion, her need to be loved, her need, not so much for sex, but simply to be touched. But as we grow older, we are ironically shut out and shunted aside and denied the very thing our souls cry out for. (Note: There are some disturbing and shocking images of sexuality in "The Mother", but don't let them put you off and blind you to the real message of the film.)
May, at least, rediscovers another passion within -- to create art -- and so is able to live again. Not all of us are so fortunate. In this respect, I identify more with May's daughter Paula who, when love and passion fail and die, feels that her creative expression is no longer valid and worthwhile, and destroys her works in a fit of despair.
May is a woman in her late 60s; I am a gay man in my late 40s. Yet our stories are similar in so many ways. What May experiences in a matter of weeks, I have felt over the past decade. My passion has yet to be rediscovered.
It is no accident that "The Mother" was scripted by Hanif Kureishi, who gave us "My Beautiful Laundrette", a love story about two gay men in the flower of youth. "The Mother" is at the other end of the spectrum, a story about age and the denial of passion. To paraphrase the title of another Kureishi film, "The Mother" might aptly be titled "Sammy and Rosie Get Old".
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