"Mother and Child" tells the story of three women. The first is Kathy (Annette Bening), a neurotic nurse who lives with her mother who constantly thinks of the daughter she gave up for adoption 37 years prior. That daughter, Elizabeth (Naomi Watts), is the subject of the second plot line in the film. Elizabeth is an extremely successful and icy lawyer who enters an affair with her superior (Samuel L. Jackson). Finally, we have the tale of a woman named Lucy (Kerry Washington) who is attempting to adopt a baby.
I believe that the film does quite a good, though not completely flawless job of balancing the three stories. All three serve to enhance each other, especially Bening and Watts's. The mother and child, as it were, that never knew each other, both searching for meaning in their lives - realizing that what they needed all along was each other. That sounds corny but it's really, really meaningful, especially if you can relate it to a relationship with your own mother.
Kerry Washington's storyline is perhaps the most interesting of the three, yet it is so often pushed aside for the other two. This is where the film falters - I found myself at times waiting a bit too long for the Washington subplot to reappear. This is only a minor problem, however, considering the quality of the other two.
Easily the film's strongest asset is its performances. Annette Bening is absolutely divine in the role of Karen. She seems to be completely immersed in her character - she knows who this woman is so well. She saves the fireworks for when they're really needed making them so much more effective. Naomi Watts, who I love, was also fantastic, and her almost ridiculously written character arc makes complete sense because of the quality of her performance. I also really liked Samuel L. Jackson! He did really, really well playing a role that is sort of off type for him.
As for the film's Oscar chances? I don't know! I really would love to see some love for Annette. Though her screentime is limited due to the triangular nature of the screenplay, I could see her potentially getting a Nicole-Kidman-in-The Hours-esque nomination. She is absolutely marvelous in this film, and I'm really hoping she gets some recognition. Naomi Watts and Kerry Washington would also make good nominees if this turns out to be a weak year. This is sort of a small film though, so it'll be interesting as to how it is received.
ANYWAY, I actually quite loved this movie and though it's not without its flaws, it's inched itself just one notch above "How to Train Your Dragon" in order to get the honor of being the best film I've seen so far this year! With its fabulous performances and pretty-well balanced screenplay, it's definitely a film that should be seen by all, especially if you're in the mood for something touching. ;)
So who's seen it? I want to know! I'm surprised I haven't heard more about it on the blogosphere!