Mother and Child



Directed by

Rodrigo García




Written by

Rodrigo García




Release Date

May 7, 2010 (USA)










Naomi Watts

Annette Benning

Kerry Washington

A critique by Daniel Taveras



Rodrigo García directed this film. Rodrigo García wrote this film. Why is this important? Should we know him? Well, he wrote/directed the moderately successful Nine Lives. Okay...that's cool, any other reason why we should know him?


Rodrigo García is the son of Gabriel García Márquez. Huh? Who? Gabriel García Márquez! Who? Don't tell me you don't know! GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ!


For those not in the know and, more importantly, to those annoyed by the confrontational type, Gabriel García Márquez is one of our Earth's most admired and acclaimed authors. The Columbian writer's One Hundred Years of Solitude, a story of humanity and mind-sucking magical realism, is among the greatest contemporary novels. The unfortunate reality for Rodrigo is that his work will forever be compared with his father's. Even more unfortunate, his latest picture doesn't do much in elevating him to his father's heaven-high plateau.


Where Márquez painted his characters in surrealism Rodrigo García goes the other way, building a space of the hyper-real, downtrodden adult drama. Mother and Child knows its characters, but that doesn't stop them from serving up a nice fat schmaltz stew.


Annette Benning (who hasn't really done much in the way of visibility since American Beauty) plays Karen, a mother who became so at fourteen and gave up her then and still only child. She's the acidic type, whose conversations go in fiery circles and likely burn whomever sidles too closely. Her now grown-up child, Elizabeth (Naomi Watts), is a lawyer with an uncompromisingly sexual psyche. Plenty of Hollywood starlets are bestowed the moniker "talented and beautiful" but few earn it more than Watts. Paul (Samuel L. Jackson) is her boss, and it's completely refreshing seeing Jackson in a role that doesn't require him to make sexual remarks about one's mother. Kerry Washington (as Lucy) is an unfertile aspiring mom who sees adoption as the cure for her natal deficiency.


García recognizes his characters and draws them well. Every one of them has punch and sits nicely in the notch they were carved, but predictability and lazy melodramatic cues make the film seem like it was created in an artistic malaise. The score's ham-fisted, and almost deletes the solid performances. Pushing these scenes to the brink of drama only makes them less effective.


The film runs a fat two hours: with more liberal cutting the end results would have been more persuasive, and García's talent for interesting character would have shone. As a film about the relationships between mothers and their disconnected children this picture's need to "feel" adult only proves it's still just a kid.



Bottom Line: 3.0/5.0