Mother and Child [2010]

Directed by Rodrigo García (son of revered writer Gabriel García Márquez) and produced by Alejandro González Iñarritu (whose influence is evident in this film), Mother and Child explores concepts of race, adoption and, most importantly, the importance of a mother. It only helps that García is Colombian, a culture (like all Latin-American cultures) that deeply values the role a mother plays in the family dynamic. During their introduction, the actions by García’s female characters are inexplicable. If Karen (Annette Bening) likes Paco (Jimmy Smits), why does she keep pushing him away with her obnoxious comments? Or, why does Elizabeth (Naomi Watts) get mad when her boss invites her to an intimate dinner, only to then come on to him aggressively? On top of that, it seemed like the film’s writer/director was making an effort to make his characters unlikeable. At one point, I even asked myself: “why is everybody a bitch in this movie”?

But to see this characters evolve, influenced in different ways by motherhood, is a delight. The interconnected stories in this film, woven together beautifully by García, are very moving and I felt them as if they were mine in a way I can’t even explain. Also, this is one of those movies where truly every actor in every part is outstanding. Naomi Watts, a terrific actress who definitely deserves more recognition, is incredible as sexually dominant Elizabeth. Annette Bening, Kerry Washington, Shareeka Epps and many more turn in some great work.

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