While on a trip to Thailand, a successful American businessman tries to radically change his life. Back in New York, his wife and daughter find their relationship with their live-in Filipino maid changing around them. At the same time, in the Philippines, the maid's family struggles to deal with her absence.
An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Bryce Dallas Howard
n New York, the immature family man Leo Vidales is a successful businessman, owner of the Underlandish, a successful website of digital games and married to Dr. Ellen Vidales, a dedicated surgeon of the emergency room of a hospital. They have a daughter, Jackie, who is an intelligent girl that is raised by her nanny, the Filipino Gloria that spends more time with her than Ellen. Gloria has two sons in Philippine that miss her. When Leo need to travel to Singapore with his partner Bob (Tom McCarthy) to sign a millionaire contract with investors, Ellen operates on a boy stabbed in the stomach by his own mother and she feels connected to the boy and rethinks her relationship with Jackie. Meanwhile Leo is bored waiting for the negotiation of Bob with the investors and he decides to travel to Bangkok and lodges in a rustic cottage on the seashore. Leo meets the young prostitute and mother Cookie and he has one night stand with her. Meanwhile, Gloria's ten year-old boy Salvador misses her ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
dramatically flawed but poetic look at parent/child relationships
Written and directed by Lukas Moodysson, "Mammoth" is a melancholic indie feature showing how both those who have money and those who don't can be equally unhappy. On a deeper level, it's also about how parents mainly out of necessity but sometimes out of cruelty - often fail to provide their children with the care and nurturing they need to feel protected and loved.
Leo (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Ellen (Michelle Williams) are a young married couple with a seven-year-old daughter (Sophie Nyweide) who live in a fancy loft in Soho. Though a self-described "hippie" in his younger days, Leo has recently made it to the "big time" by turning his nerdish obsession with internet video games into a multimillion dollar enterprise. But Leo can't quite adjust to being a part of the privileged classes, and he yearns for a simpler life focused on his family, something that seems to be becoming ever more difficult to achieve with his busy schedule. Ellen works nights as an emergency room surgeon, which prevents her from spending the kind of quality time she would like with her daughter, Jackie, who, in turn, is becoming ever more attached to Gloria (Marife Necesito), her Filipina nanny. Gloria, meanwhile, is heartbroken at the fact that she's had to leave her two little boys back in the Philippines to basically fend for themselves, while she earns enough money to build the house they will all one day live in.
Leo and Ellen are united in their desire to do good in the world Ellen, by patching up broken bodies and shattered lives, and Leo, by spreading his new-found wealth around to those in need. In a way, they're finding their own means of helping to bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots in this world. But at what cost to their family unit? The movie draws a distinct contrast between life in Manhattan and life in the Philippines, where Gloria's children live with the everlasting threat of poverty hanging over their heads, and Thailand, where Leo goes on a business trip and where his attraction to a beautiful native girl may ultimately prove too powerful to resist.
Though at times it may seem meandering and insufficiently developed in terms of its storytelling, "Mammoth" finds its own strength in concentrating on those little moments of truth that form the essence of real life. And even though there is a surfeit of musical-montage sequences running throughout the film, it is partly counteracted by a subtle, spare and haunting musical score that nicely accentuates the lyrical nature of the piece. The last half hour, in particular, becomes a poetic and powerful account of people learning to prioritize their own lives in such a way as to be of the greatest value to both themselves and those around them.
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