THE MOTHER (2003) revisited

Thoughts of P. Case member of the Ealing Over 60 Network. Pam could not stay for the discussion. She was not present when I had mentioned that some academics proposed that the film provoke our prior conceptions and values that challenge stereotypes.

A bleak film about modern life for the up and coming rich of London and their disfunctional relationships. a mother trapped and dominated by her husband and not really happy with the role she was forced into; a daughter who blames mother’s lack of affection for her current unhappiness; a son who is successful in the accepted sense of the word but has no time for love or enjoyment of his family, his kids glued to TV or machines; his friend, who has failed to make it rich and works as a builder for his rich friend – resentfully, as it turns out. 
BUT the start of the relationship between the mother and the younger man seemed to me to have real tenderness and enjoyment of each other on both sides, and I was surprised by his coke fuelled, bitter, cruel outburst later. He can only relate at a superficial level and seemingly deals with his feelings of failure/loneliness/alienation by having lots of sex. As usual the women are shown wanting a full, emotionally engaging relationship, whereas he finds their demands for such a thing ultimately controlling and  destructive.Is this more the norm for many men in our society – sexual relationships leading to responsibilities which they fear? Man still meant to be the eventual provider? as illustrated by the son and his wife. 
I was unconvinced by the mother’s explicit drawings of her lover – I personally feel this is a male approach, coming from the writer, and was included merely as a plot device.  
Was the final message one of hope – mother found her independence and set off travelling? But this only because of the money left to her by her husband. 

Of the 24 people who came to the film session of EON only 16 stayed for the discussion. One member (the one male member of three who stayed for the discussion) declared that the only good point of the film was that the older woman enjoyed having sex. He was reminded that her desire was in the context of unpleasant selfish family. The majority of contributions were about the betrayal of the daughter by her mother and the impossibility of suspending disbelief . Nobody saw in the film a challenge to stereotype. (see previous blog The Mother or Thatcher Britain )



About rinaross

Born in 1935. MA in Film and Television Studies at the University of Westminster 1998. Studying the representation of older women in film since then.
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1 Response to THE MOTHER (2003) revisited

  1. Androulla says:

    This depressing view of human relationships says more about the screenplay writer than anything worth taking away, despite good film direction. I couldn’t suspend disbelief (unusual for me) because the characters don’t come across as real people – so I didn’t care about them enough to enjoy the film. In fact I felt worse for having watched it.

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