Starring three of the most notable female actors working today in Hollywood, Rodrigo Garcia 'Mother and Child' paints a layered, multi-character portrait about the unique, innate bond between mother and child.

The film strings together three different stories that include an older woman, Karen (Annette Bening), who regrets giving up her newborn in her teens, and Elizabeth (Naomi Watts), a cutthroat yet lonely lawyer who was adopted in her youth and still hurts from not knowing her real parents. Kerry Washington plays the third lead in this weepy drama, as an infertile mother striving to adopt a baby. The film eventually becomes an emotional study about the ramifications of giving up a child for adoption.

The male co-stars are Jimmy Smits, Samuel L. Jackson and David Ramsey.

As the showrunner of the critically acclaimed first season of 'In Treatment,' writer-director Garcia has had much success with the critics in TV. Likewise, the critical reception is largely positive for this cinematic effort, with many critics highlighting the film's keen insight into womanhood and the powerful, nuanced performances as its main strengths.

Read what the critics have to say: Starring three of the most notable female actors working today in Hollywood, Rodrigo Garcia 'Mother and Child' paints a layered, multi-character portrait about the unique, innate bond between mother and child.

The film strings together three different stories that include an older woman, Karen (Annette Bening), who regrets giving up her newborn in her teens, and Elizabeth (Naomi Watts), a cutthroat yet lonely lawyer who was adopted in her youth and still hurts from not knowing her real parents. Kerry Washington plays the third lead in this weepy drama, as an infertile mother striving to adopt a baby. The film eventually becomes an emotional study about the ramifications of giving up a child for adoption.

The male co-stars are Jimmy Smits, Samuel L. Jackson and David Ramsey.

As the showrunner of the critically acclaimed first season of 'In Treatment,' writer-director Garcia has had much success with the critics in TV. Likewise, the critical reception is largely positive for this cinematic effort, with many critics highlighting the film's keen insight into womanhood and the powerful, nuanced performances as its main strengths.

Here is what the critics have to say:

Variety: "Garcia's filmmaking is discreet, fluid and straightforward, but the performances jump out by virtue of their nerve and honesty. Watts, so notable for her emotional availability as a performer, has never shown anything near the steeliness of her characterization here, a quality later set off by an extraordinary calm. Bening's performance similarly extends across a huge range with much shading in between as Karen struggles to improve a life dominated by regrets. But perhaps the biggest surprise is Jackson, for the first time in memory playing a regular guy instead of someone extreme, and doing so with unprecedented restraint and deliberation. It would be great to see more of where this comes from."

The Hollywood Reporter
: "Writer-director Rodrigo Garcia is a master of multiple narratives whose storylines often crisscross in unexpected ways. He deploys this strategy most effectively in 'Mother and Child,' a happy-sad tale of a mother and daughter, separated at birth, who struggle with the damage done by the most important person missing in their lives. Some may find the film overly schematic, but Garcia smartly uses three parallel narratives to probe the extraordinary nature of motherhood. Like many of Garcia's films, 'Mother and Child' plays very well to adult female audiences. Thanks to a name cast -- his scripts attract major talent -- the film should carve out a niche for itself in specialty venues and on cable television.

Movieline: "A women's picture in a mold that's more and more idiosyncratically his own, with 'Mother and Child' Rodrigo Garcia ('Nine Lives') poses a number of intriguing questions about the nature of maternity, only to obscure them with a gloss that is equal parts sentiment and subtle but specious politics. That he pulls off an involving film anyway is largely a credit to his superb main cast, a trio of interlinked characters played by Annette Bening, Naomi Watts and Kerry Washington. Each grapples in some way with her femininity and its connection to what her womb has either done or failed to do, and while all of these women are types, the actresses dignify them with the emotional force of their performances."

Village Voice: "In a film with several welcome, graceful touches -- in addition to so many remarkable performances, 'Mother and Child' stands out for its colorblind casting and the casualness of its interracial relationships -- García's strenuous avoidance of another reproductive choice disappoints all the more. Though Karen gives birth to Elizabeth in 1973 -- the year Roe v. Wade was decided -- none of the pregnant women, regardless of age or financial security, discuss abortion (one lead character's gynecologist does, sending her into a white-hot rage). The sanctity of the titular connection is real, as are the characters García creates. But in not addressing an option that these women surely must have grappled with, García's laudable film stops short of being great."

New York Magazine
: 'Mother and Child' is suffused with grief and loss. It's also suffused with compassion and insight. One of García's earlier films was 'Nine Lives,' in which nine women's stories were poetically compressed, each told in a single long shot. This time, he has three stories that converge, although not in the way you expect. The third protagonist is a young woman (Kerry Washington) who can't have children and undergoes a grueling grilling by a pregnant, seething teenager (Shareeka Epps) to see if she's worthy to adopt the girl's child. The film becomes a tapestry of mother-and-child stories, each child molded by the overbearing presence or absence of its mother, each wondering which is more important: blood or time spent."

Entertainment Weekly: "That's not to say that Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, and Kerry Washington aren't lovely playing women who must deal with the life-altering consequences of adoption. Just that the characters in Rodrigo García's movie never rise above being sample clientele. Bening, in a forceful, barefaced performance, is fiftysomething Karen, who, as a teenager, gave an infant daughter up for adoption and has wept ever since, masking her sadness with a sour, spinster veneer. Watts is Elizabeth, an adoptee in her 30s who has turned the loneliness of having never known her own mother into a sexualized hardness she likes to think of as independence. Young, married, and infertile Lucy, played by Washington, longs for a child of her own. Woe, by the way, unto the good, decent men -- played by Jimmy Smits, Samuel L. Jackson, and David Ramsey -- who cross these women's paths. In the ovarian jungle of 'Mother and Child' each gent is undervalued in his own way."

Slant Magazine: "In Garcia's view of reproductive politics, adoption is a harbinger of misery, a last-ditch option that is only acceptable when the mother dies in childbirth, while abortion remains the film's structuring absence, the word that dare not speak its name. And yet, for all the director's sentimentalization of "traditional" values, he's quite willing to view single motherhood as a legitimate option. (He's also down with mixed-race couples.) After all, a mother raising her own child is just the right thing to do, regardless of circumstances, so the director allows several of the film's women to engage in rewarding instances of single parenthood. It all leads to a round of joyful tears and sappy guitar noodlings, but since these are the expected stuff of the melodrama form, a potentially progressive genre designed to explore the roles of womanhood in a man's world, it's hard to argue on principle with their deployment. It's the ideological service to which Garcia puts these manipulations that makes them so objectionable."
CATEGORIES Reviews