Imagine a film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu but with a linear narrative. Imagine now a superb extended metaphor on adoption, hence on filiation, interpreted by actors skillfully directed. You get it ? Now, you have before your very eyes one of the best American movies of 2009. Unfairly ignored. Masterpiece.
Rodrigo Garcia is officially my favorite director working in H'Wood. He made the only film where I dont hate Dakota Fanning, and also gave a dangerous role for Naomi Watts here. He's a master of arranging simple story charged with emotion that is rich in humanity.
Naomi's complexity left me astonished that her character and dialogue was written by a man. Her relationship with SLJ was perfectly represented - a guilty sexual game, leading into a friendship of genuine respect and responsibility which resulted in her character acting (possibly for the first time in her life) with the best interest of someone other than herself. Rodrigo Garcia knows women. Brilliant.
Very good acting performances from all actors, indeed. Especially Mrs. Watts is standing out, just because her character "Elizabeth" is the only one which is not predictable. The story too often plays with stereotypes about adoption, troubled biological mothers, damaged adoptees & fatal bureaucracy. All in all solid.
Some bonds are so strong that when broken the individuals previously connected can no longer function properly. Mother and child explore the mother and child bond and the effects it has on a woman desperately needing to be a mom and also a woman and her daughter separated at birth. The performances are pitch perfect from Bening, Watts and the remainder of the cast.
I saw this film last night. It was moving, but for some reason I didn't love it. The plot was too complicated, too many generations, characters and events to fit in a two-hour movie... Like García Márquez books, they are great literature, but normally don't make great films. Unless it's a barroc Almodovar movie, for me simplicity works better in cinema. Sometimes less is more.
Despite minor screenplay flaws, this is a very powerful film that subtly talks about topics regarding life choices, and what being a woman and a mother means. Bening delivers what might well be her finest performance to date. She's marvelous to look at.