Mother and Child (3 stars)

Mother and Child

A strong but plodding triptych starring Annette Bening, Naomi Watts and Kerry Washington

(15) 126min

Mexican cinema’s love affair with the triptych continues with Mother and Child. Executive produced by Babel director Alexandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, the latest film from Nine Lives helmsman Rodrigo Garcia stars Annette Bening as a nursing home physical therapist annoyed at two figures in her homelife – her ageing mother and the occasionally present 14-year-old daughter of her maid. In easily the most interesting of the three stories Naomi Watts plays a nihilistic LA-based attorney with a penchant for sleeping with married men. Samuel L Jackson plays her boss. The third tale revolves around Lucy (Kerry Washington), who, having failed to conceive with her husband, now wants to adopt the baby of a pregnant 20 year old.

While Garcia’s principal preoccupation is with the fallout from adoption, it’s the secondary storylines about women in the work place, and the stresses of marriage and pregnancy that are the film’s strengths. Its weaknesses, as is often the case with movies with intertwining storylines, are the plodding pace and the over-neat segues that place too much emphasis on chance and coincidence.

Mother and Child Trailer

Mother and Child

  • 3 stars
  • 2009
  • US / Spain
  • 2h 5min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Rodrigo García
  • Written by: Rodrigo García
  • Cast: Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington, Jimmy Smits, Samuel L Jackson, David Morse
  • UK release: 6 January 2012

Mexican cinema's love affair with the triptych continues, in three intertwined stories about a physical therapist (Bening), a nihilistic attorney (Watts) and a childless woman (Washington) wanting to adopt. Watts' story is easily the most interesting; the weaknesses are a plodding pace, and over-neat segues relying too…

Elsewhere on the web