Mothers and Daughters
dir Paul Duddridge
scr Paige Cameron
prd Danielle James, Steve King, Amy Williams
with Selma Blair, Christina Ricci, Courteney Cox, Mira Sorvino, Eva Amurri Martino, Alexandra Daniels, Sharon Stone, Susan Sarandon, Paul Adelstein, Paul Wesley, Christopher Backus, Luke Mitchell, Gilles Marini
release US 6.May.16
16/US 1h30
Mothers and Daughters
Girls on film: Blair

ricci cox sorvino
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Mothers and Daughters Warm and relaxed, this multi-strand ensemble drama explores parenthood from unexpected angles. It's over-constructed and relentlessly nice, with a series of carefully ordered revelations and twists that aren't terribly surprising. But there are plenty of terrific moments along the way, and the refreshing approach makes it worth a look.

Just as photographer Rigby (Blair) gets a career boost, she learns that she's pregnant by her ex (Marini). Meanwhile, bra designer Georgina (Sorvino) relies on her supermodel boyfriend Sebastian (Backus) when she gets an anonymous letter from the now 23-year-old daughter she put up for adoption. Magazine editor Nina (Stone) is trying to connect with her distracted daughter Layla (Daniels). Becca (Ricci) distances herself from her sister Beth (Cox) after their mother's shocking deathbed revelation. And Gayle (Amurri Martino) is defying her over-involved mother (Sarandon) to support her husband (Wesley) in his offbeat career.

These stories are very loosely intertwined, mainly because they all happen in the same city. More intriguing are the common themes, as several characters are on the cusp of success, so they're juggling professional and personal issues. Sometimes this tips into melodrama (Beth and Becca's story is the most manipulative), but for the most part the emotions remain raw and honest. And the ways these characters are forced to explore their identities as a parent and/or child are often powerfully resonant.

The performances are open and emotive, with the most moving scenes going to Sorvino, Ricci and Cox. All three are excellent, as are Stone and Sarandon in smaller roles as high-powered mothers. Although they have with superb scenes opposite Daniels and Amurri Martino (Sarandon's real daughter), respectively. Blair provides an gently thoughtful through-line to the whole film. And as the title suggests, the men are naturally sidelined but add some strong textures. Adelstein (as Beth's husband), Backus and Wesley are strong as sensitive partners. And Mitchell (as Rigby's pop-star client) offers a strong kick in a tricky role.

The script is packed with quick, easy plot points that shift things in rather simplistic directions. Even with the proliferation of thorny themes, everything works out in a fairly clear-cut way. And the story leaps from holiday to holiday in rather corny fashion, leading of course to Mother's Day. But there are some solid insights along the way, including knowing observations about parenthood. And everyone in the audience can identify with the hopes and challenges of keeping your life and career moving forward.

cert 12 themes, language 1.May.16

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© 2016 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall