|Mother And Child (2010)|
|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Monday, 20 December 2010|
“Mother And Child” is a interweaved story, connecting the lives of three different women. Sure the outcome is predictable for anyone really paying attention, but the journey is engrossing. The story and its characters are brought to life by a powerful cast that leaves you breathless.
It is hard to talk about plot for this film without giving away what could potentially be surprises for some viewers, so I will provide a more general overview. Annette Bening portrays Karen, a woman in her fifties who has a hardened heart. She struggles every day of her life with what may or may not have been her decision to give up her daughter for adoption when she gave birth at age fourteen. She deals with a take care of her mother, a mother that seems distant and cold to her only daughter.
Naomi Watts is riveting and brings the character of Elizabeth into our living rooms. Every fiber of her emotional journey is felt right in our own hearts. Elizabeth is an independent woman who can settle in one place for too long, likely fearing attachment. She is assertive and lives in the moment. When she is hired at a Los Angeles law firm, she begins an affair with her boss, Samuel L. Jackson. But that doesn’t stop her from having relations with her next-door neighbor’s husband. Elizabeth must deal with her abandonment by her mother as well as the possibility of becoming a mother herself.
Probably the weakest part of the film, but integral at the end of the film is that of Lucy’s character. She is a barren want-to-be mother. Her and her husband decide on adoption and begin their journey on that road. They must contend with a 20 year-old pregnant women that is very picky as to who she is going to allow to adopt her baby. Lucy is at the forefront, but marital issues and a lack of true conviction make the adoption tough to handle for everyone involved.
As I mentioned earlier I don’t want to give away any of the ties to these women and how it all turns out, but it is fairly obvious once you get going with the film. Still, the journey is impressive. Most dramas fail to capture the audiences’ hearts, but that is precisely what this film does.
While the emotion-packed film is incredible, there are numerous unanswered questions for a dramatic film. The film is convoluted, so it isn’t really surprisingly for this particular drama that some elements of story lines and character development get swept under the rug. I generally struggled a bit with the time lapse. The filmmakers could not find a way to effectively make time pass without the audience questioning what is going one. At one point they try a shot of a tree blowing in the wind. At another point they actually print how much time has passed in a subtitle. Still, the elapsed time doesn’t seem to correspond with the events on screen. This is a little nitpick on my part, but one that broke the illusion for me.
Visually, “Mother and Child” comes with a nicely resolved transfer. There is an overall softness that catches your eye on several occasions. In addition, there are several shots that are not as warm as they probably should have been to convey the emotional power of a sequence. However, most of that comes back to the original source. This transfer contains solid black levels, though not as deep as I would have liked. The contrast and brightness levels are not the best that I have seen, but it is better than losing details in the dark shadowy segments. The film does have a couple night shots to act as transitions. Unfortunately, this is nothing but black screen with the random appearance of lights indicating buildings and streets. Colors are stable and generally warm. However, the softness causes colors to look a bit fuzzy. Even with the softness, details remain impressive. Textures are quite good but not top notch. Film grain does rear its ugly head in a few transitional shots, but it remains at bay in the primary visuals. Most artifacting remains absent from this image, though there are some instances of banding. This is certainly and impressive looking film considering its independent level.
The audio is nicely presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1. However, like all films of this genre, there isn’t much to report. The surround channels remain empty throughout, except for one or two occasions when I caught some material lingering around back there. The presentation is largely front heavy. The film score is probably a bit more under-prioritized than I would have liked, but this is likely a matter of the dubbing stage used for mixing. The dialogue is the key element here and it remains upfront and clear throughout the two hours. The dynamics are limited, but frequency response remains vibrant. The LFE channel is absent, again as to be expected. This isn’t an immersive or even enveloping audio track but it fits just fine with the emotional journey that the film takes us on.
At this level of filmmaking, there isn’t much expected in terms of bonus materials. This Blu-ray comes with three deleted scenes, which unfortunately don’t fill in any of the holes. “Universally Connected” examines the characters and their connections. “Creating The Family Tree” discusses the pre-production of the film. Lastly, there is a film trailer and BD-Live functionality.
“Mother And Child” is finally a film that adult couples can sit and watch together. After strings of animated features and action-packed thrillers, this is a film that can, or should, be enjoyed by all mature audiences. The audio and video qualities are not top-notch but they are well more than adequate for this drama. I highly recommend this title.