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Motherhood (DVD)

Uma Thurman gives mums a bad name

Disc Specs

Starring Uma ThurmanMinnie DriverAnthony Edwards Disc Cover
Directed By Katherine Dieckmann Certificate 15
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0
Visuals 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Running Time 86 mins
UK Release Date March 8, 2010
Genre Drama, Comedy
Our Rating
User Rating

The Friday before Motherhood hit DVD in the UK (which was last Monday, March 8th), it got a cinema release on a single London screen. In the entire weekend it grossed only £88 pounds. On the Sunday it made was just £9, with only a single ticket sold. It’s one of the worst flops a movie featuring a well known star has ever suffered in the UK, and I don’t think it’s going to do a lot better on DVD.

That should tell you all you need to know about this movie, other than that it was very lucky ever to see a cinema screen at all. In fact, if it weren’t for the presence of Uma Thurman, it would probably have never seen any screen. It’s a shame she took the role.

She plays Eliza, a Manhattan mother of two whose kids are no longer babies and so she’s left feeling unfulfilled. Having given up her career to look after her children, she’s left wondering why she can’t have some sort of life of her own, without feeling like she’s neglecting her parental duties. While she tries to finish an article for a parenting magazine before the deadline, she also has a hectic time preparing for her daughter’s birthday. And that’s about it.

People having difficulty finding the balance between being a parent and an individual is a decent enough subject for a film, but it would help if Motherhood had bothered with finding a plot and wasn’t just 90 minutes of people stating the blindingly obvious. It seems to think it’s capturing the spirit of the age, but it has nothing to say about it, and even what it does include seems clichéd.

Occasionally it appears as if the film is vaguely self-aware, with other characters pointing out how self-absorbed Eliza can be and that she’s completely lost perspective on how her actions affect other people – and that perhaps she’d feel more fulfilled if she didn’t panic about everything so much. However the movie seems afraid of criticising anything the main character does, so it leaves these observations hanging, neither confirmed nor refuted, or even argued about. Motherhood is toothless, slow and plotless, telling you things even an idiot would already know as if it’s revealing great secrets about modern life. Yes, sometimes it’s difficult to balance life and parenting, but if you haven’t got anything more to add than that, why bother making a movie about it?

In fact the film ends up shooting itself in the foot, because by the end it’s difficult not to conclude that Eliza needs to just shut up, stop being so neurotic and think about someone other than herself for a change (even when she's supposedly thinking about her kids or husband, she does it through the guise of what these thoughts mean about her). With such a shot-sighted view of the world, it’s middle-class whining of the highest order. I’m presuming that’s not what writer/director Katherine Dieckmann wanted the viewer to think, however with its timid, myopic view of the characters and clunky script, that’s about all it can manage.

There’s a great film to be made about the challenges modern parenthood puts on both men and women, but this sure ain’t it.

Overall Verdict: I can understand why mother-of-two Uma Thurman would want to make a vanity project like this about the issues facing modern women, but she should have waited and found a far better script.

Special Features:

Reviewer: Tim Isaac

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