Mothers and Daughters

Posted on May 5, 2016 at 5:18 pm

Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief drug content
Profanity: Some strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Drinking, drugs
Violence/ Scariness: Tense family confrontations
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: May 6, 2016
Copyright 2016 Screen Media Films
Copyright 2016 Screen Media Films

No one matters more to us than Mom and there is no one we can at the same time want everything and nothing from. We need their unconditional love and approval. We need them to always be glad to see us, always comfort us when we hurt. But we also need to feel that we can do without her, be independent. And then we don’t want to.

Last week’s awful “Mother’s Day” attempted to mine this material. This week, “Mothers and Daughters” does a better job. It still falls into the trap of putting the story in New York City but having all of the characters white and having them keep running into each other and resolving everything too neatly. But it avoids the sit-com vibe and intrusive product placement and has some understated and affecting moments.

In one of the movie’s highlights, Susan Sarandon appears with her real-life daughter, Eva Amurri Martino, who plays Gayle, a woman who is estranged from her family. She insisted on living with her boyfriend, who wants to start a high-end bakery and is sure he will get the loan he needs. But Gayle is getting nervous about the money he is spending and determined not to ask her parents to help them.

Selma Blair plays Rigby, a photographer whose married boyfriend has just — kindly — broken up with her to return to his wife. She is offered her dream job, accompanying a rock star on tour as his official photographer, when she discovers she is pregnant. “How long do I have?” she asks her doctor (“The Blind Side’s” Quinton Aaron). He smiles and tells her it’s a baby, not a terminal disease. She makes an appointment for an abortion, certain that she does not have it in her to care for a child, especially because she feels guilty about not doing more for her own mother, who is in a nursing home.

Sharon Stone is Nina, a fashion mogul whose daughter has dropped out of a prestigious internship and won’t tell her what she is doing instead. Mira Sorvino is Georgina, whose new line of bras is launching, and who has a secret she has not told her very supportive boyfriend. And Courteney Cox is Beth, a wife and mother of a teenage son. Her own mother has just died, leading to the revelation of a family secret that has caused great anger and pain.

There is a quiet sincerity to the film that makes up for some slickness in the screenplay, with its overly convenient twists and rapid progress toward hugs and forgiveness.

Parents should know that this film has mature material including sexual references and discussions of family secrets. There is some alcohol and brief drug use.

Family discussion: Which family had the most difficult problem? Why did Rigby change her mind?

If you like this, try: “The Meddler”

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Gatsby on Film

Posted on May 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm


In honor of this week’s release of the lastest movie version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s jazz age novel, The Great Gatsby, revisit the book and take a look at four earlier versions:

The Great Gatsby (1949) Alan Ladd and Betty Field star in the earliest surviving version of the story, heavy-handed and missing the lyricism of the book.  (A 1926 film with Warner Baxter has been lost.)

The Great Gatsby (1974) Robert Redford and Mia Farrow star in this sumptuous version that is rather static but better than its reputation.

The Great Gatsby (2000) A TV version starred Mira Sorvino, Paul Rudd, and Toby Stephens and preserves more of the narration from the novel.

gG. Audacious, ambitious, and provocative but uneven and ultimately unsatisfying, this film adapts and updates the story. Instead of Jay Gatsby, the Prohibition-era gangster who can’t forget the girl he lost, we have Summer G, the gangsta, the head of a successful hip-hop recording label.

You might also want to take a look at the only movie credited to Fitzgerald during his brief, unhappy stint in Hollywood:

Three Comrades A tragic love set story in post-WWI Germany starring Robert Young and Margaret Sullavan.

Or watch one of the movie portrayals of Fitzgerald:

Beloved Infidel Gregory Peck plays Fitzgerald in this movie based on the memoir of gossip columnist Sheilah Graham about their years together.

Midnight in Paris Tom Hiddleston and Alison Pill play Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald in Woody Allen’s romantic comedy about a contemporary writer who goes back in time to meet his literary heroes.

Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle Malcolm Gets plays Fitzgerald in this movie about the New York writers who gathered at the Algonquin hotel for cocktails and repartee.

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