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 May is telling Darren about her affair and just before she asks him to take her to bed, Darren does not have a carpenter's pencil in his ear. When we see him a few moments later, the pencil is over his ear. 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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"The Mother" is a raw unpeeling of relationships between older parents and adult children in a very contemporary take on the British "kitchen sink drama".
Every character is baldly selfish to the point of startling brutality. Each one responds to attempted openings of lines of communication with "But what about me?"
The naturalism is palpably realistic, such that when Hanif Kureish's script crosses a line to go a bit over the top it's upsetting and jarring.
Director Roger Michell is particularly good at capturing the domestic mise en scene of sounds -- from simultaneous conversations to children's chatter -- and sights, such as lingering over meaningful visuals from a pair of old slippers to a casually bare torso.
Anne Reid gives the gutsiest older woman performance since Kathy Bates in "About Schmidt" and Helen Mirren in "Calendar Girls," but those were mostly played for laughs and didn't reveal the painful de-layering of inhibitions. Her character's continued low self-esteem to the point of accepting abuse is difficult to watch.
Except for a very atypical appearance in the first "Lara Croft," Daniel Craig has avoided depending on his magnetic hunkiness on screen. Here, as in "Sylvia," his manliness is a protean catalyst for the plot. In a complex triangle of relationships, his carpenter obliges the other characters' obsessions to project their fantasies and needs on to him.
While the grandmother finds some independence and self-respect, I'm not optimistic about the grandchildren in this dysfunctional family.
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