Mother and Child gets my vote for the best movie I saw from 2010. I saw seven of the ten movies nominated for the Academy Awards best picture (Black Swan, Inception, The King’s Speech, True Grit, Winter’s Bone, Toy Story 3, The Social Network, and 127 Hours), and none of them left me unable to speak after the last scene. Not that “Mother and Child” is a manipulative tearjerker. But it did to me what I think a good movie is suppose to do. It made me react. It made me think and feel what I would not have otherwise thought and felt. It left an impression.
Everyone in the movie should get an award for great acting, acting like real people. Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington, Jimmy Smits, Samuel L. Jackson, David Morse — everybody. I don’t know how Annette Bening didn’t win an award for best acting on the planet. She has scenes where she’s trying to talk but can’t talk but doesn’t need to because all you have to do is look at her face to know what’s going through her head and what’s she’s feeling.
It may be the kind of movie that works best if you’re in the right mood for it, and I may have been in the right mood. But I still think “Mother and Child” is top notch filmmaking all around. One or two scenes contain dialogue that isn’t realistic, but the mood is still right on target, the feeling still works and the scenes move the story along, so it’s hardly a fault. Not one scene is wasted either. The director cuts to the chase with an opening montage so we know exactly what’s going on, and every shot after that builds on what came before it.
At first the movie feels like it’s going to be a downer, and the main characters aren’t the most likeable, but everyone in every scene is convincing and the direction is so calm and unforced, it all works together and pulls the story along on some kind of intuitive level that provides room to feel through it all and think about it and wonder about it and… I don’t know. I really got into it and it moved me.
Click the poster image if you want to know what the movie is about. And don’t view any of the trailers online because they make it seem like a dumb Julia Roberts melodrama. For me, it’s the best movie I’ve seen in the past 12 months.