18 user 4 critic

Mary and Martha (2013)

TV-PG | | Drama | TV Movie 20 April 2013
Two mothers lose their sons to malaria.


Phillip Noyce


Richard Curtis
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hilary Swank ... Mary
Brenda Blethyn ... Martha
Sam Claflin ... Ben
Frank Grillo ... Peter
Lux Haney-Jardine Lux Haney-Jardine ... George
Bongo Mbutuma Bongo Mbutuma ... Pumelele
Ian Redford ... Charles
James Woods ... Mary's Father
Nokuthula Ledwaba Nokuthula Ledwaba ... Micaela
Sifiso Sihlangu Sifiso Sihlangu ... Little Paul
Kagiso Lediga ... Kumi
Zethu Dlomo ... Patience
Katleho Ramaphakela ... South African Doctor
Bea Miller ... Funeral Singer (as Beatrice Miller)
Mangaliso Ngema Mangaliso Ngema ... Mozambican Doctor


Hilary Swank stars as Mary and Brenda Blethyn stars as Martha, an American interior designer and British housewife who have little in common apart from the one thing they wish they didn't. When malaria strikes, the lives of these very different women change forever. They forge a deep friendship and embark on an epic journey of self-discovery to Africa, dedicating themselves to the cause of malaria prevention. Beginning to rebuild their lives, they show how ordinary people can make a difference and inspire positive change in the process. Enlisting the help of Mary's estranged father, a former politico, the two women beseech both the powers that be and ordinary people to get involved, realizing a shared responsibility to all the world's children. Written by HBO

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Two mothers connected by loss. Inspired by hope.




TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

20 April 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mary and Martha See more »

Filming Locations:

South Africa See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the local restaurant scene, the waitress speaks in Spanish while serving Mary and her son but Mozambique's official language is Portuguese. See more »


Mary: I want to be an extraordinary mom. And to be an extraordinary mom, I have to, at some point, do something extraordinary.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Mentioned in the End Credits: "Produced with the assistance of the Department of Trade and Industry South Africa, who does not accept any liability for the content and does not necessarily support such content." See more »


References Back to the Future (1985) See more »


Written by Andy Barlow and Lou Rhodes
Performed by Bea Miller
See more »

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User Reviews

Do you want fries with your gorilla burger?
11 January 2020 | by scarletpumpernickelSee all my reviews

I like to believe that neither movie viewing nor reviewing should be excessive..; and ideally.. by living a disciplined life that is spiritually unfettered by name-brand fashion wear and/or speciality breads from French bakeries.., one can, with restraint and the beatific blessing of "The Universe" ride a perpetual wave of beautiful, magical synchronicity, where one can watch their personal life mirrored in the movies one sees. Simply put.., there MUST be rewards for walking the way of the peasant. To wit.....

Though my own departure from mafia life was in fact quite cordial (and we remain on good terms), Wonder Wheel, for example, (my previously viewed movie) did accurately reflect both my unhealthy attraction to dangerous men, as well as my inexplicable semi-loyalty to my husband, who was, in fact, also a carny who operated a merry-go-round back in the day -- well, ok, it was actually a used car lot.., but the similarities were uncanny. Thus (keep your eye on the Queen).., mid viewing of Mary And Martha, I was not surprised to see that the plot was largely about malaria.., in that only a few days earlier, I was told (in the bread aisle) that my ex-pastor's daughter (a missionary to Africa) had contracted and struggled precariously with malaria for several weeks. This happens all the time, is normal for me, and the main reason why I've never watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Now.., if one wants to believe that this film is merely a plaintive cry against malaria, that's fine.., in which case it did a pretty great job..; and thus, if one so chooses, they/you can dig out your checkbook, and send a donation to some vague, off-shore, corporate charity, possibly concocted by the same vague Illuminati overlords, who both probably financed this film.. and brought us, for example, the World Wildlife Fund and its ever-lovable founder, Prince Philip, a swell monarch, and the single most prolific slayer of endangered African species this side of the Temple Bar.

In other words.., imho, like most (Hollywood) movies of recent decades, Mary and Martha was more propaganda than plot, more indoctrination about obsoleting inter-gender relationships than soliciting empathy over third-world diseases. While superficially about malaria-related deaths in Africa, it seemed clear to me early on.. that Mary and Martha was basically just another hit piece against males.. drowning us in a mist of firebrand rhetoric aimed at "liberating" women even further from (white) male oppression -- eloquently providing more and more rationalizations for downgrading a wife's role in marriage to a take-it-or-leave-it pastime, bidding her to drift whichever way the wind blows, and poetically claiming responsibility for whatever strums her heart strings, while scorning her obviously supercilious and demeaning role as wife.. as well as her tedious and tunnel-visioned husband, who selfishly sees his function as merely working doggedly.. (to put specialty breads from French bakeries on the table).

For gift-wrapping these messages, we have (oh, let's see) a Hillary Swank (usually considered delicious) as Mary.., while her diffident, seldom-smiling, not-very-appealing husband wore a barely tolerable physiognomy, which otherwise would never be cast as a leading man. The same goes for her father (James Woods). From there.., most of the other slips and dips of indoctrination are far more subtle and veiled.. as is usually the case, and de rigueur for effective Hollywood propaganda.

It gets even worse later on.., as Martha (a polite and seemingly good-natured Brit) comes center stage.., where the unfortunate, albeit (we must remember) insufferable male characters now get double-teamed, as it were -- Mary and Martha calmly portraying strong, patient women who've borne many a care, enduring their men's man-speak and insensitivities with forbearing smiles.., while their countenances hint at borderline disgust. The visual subtext could just as well have been one of exchanging thinly veiled winks, denoting their thinly stretched tolerance of men.. suspended in a tincture of perpetual suffering. I think you get my drift.

But I am nothing.. if not fair. And my next cinematic goal is to locate and review a counterpoint film -- something perhaps showing a gentle, noble, virtuous male (who, let's say, works for Doctors Without Borders).. ensnared and tormented in the clutches of a shallow, petty, entitled, and vindictive wife. I bid you.. wish me well.., as currently I'm having difficulty finding the existence of any such movie.

Postscript: There is an irony in all this -- namely, that the unfortunately unconvincing but nonetheless REAL globalist agenda.. is not concerned about the continent of Africa or its people. Never was. That is.., historically, the corporatized NWO overlords have only cared about Africa's resources, not its people, except as a source of cheap labor to extract said resources. The agenda, as expressed, say, in Agenda 21 or 2030.. and/or the Georgia Guidestones in fact calls for at least an 80% reduction in global population. Africa will not be a priority. So, if anyone has any plan to address the malaria problem in Africa.., it's probably to send more mosquitoes.


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