TL;DR – A strong cast, dealing with important issues, even if not all of it works.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
To be honest, motherhood is not something I have a lot of experience with, so there is a little disconnect coming into a film all about that. But loneliness and frustration at your life choices, well that’s my jam. This all means that I am coming into this film with some interesting overlap. Well, let’s dive into a world of really, really, awkward conversations.
So to set the scene, for years three women have grown up as friends brought together because their sons were best friends. However, as life has moved on all their boys Matt (Sinqua Walls), Daniel (Jake Hoffman), and Paul (Jake Lacy) have left home and now live in New York City. While they move on with their lives, their mothers Helen (Felicity Huffman), Gillian (Patricia Arquette), and Carol (Angela Bassett) feel left behind especially on mother’s day when no one calls. Well on that day, they have an annual tradition of getting together to catch up and talk about their lives over a lot of bourbon. Well, this time, they decide that enough is enough, and get in a car and drive down to the city to surprise the boys … and well that goes about as well as you can expect.
this is a difficult film to sit through at times, as it shifts from one awkward
encounter to the next. I am not usually a fan of films that lean in on those
awkward encounters, however, in this film, it really works because while at the
start it feels like all the problems are one-sided, this is a film that
explores the deeply complicated relationships that can build up between people.
What also helps is that the cast is game for everything, which is needed when
the truth bombs start flying. Though in real life it would really suck to be
some of those poor shop assistants would have to sit there and witness those meltdowns.
This is one of those films where the cast is honestly ridiculous with our three leads Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette, and Felicity Huffman bringing an amount of talent that beggars belief. Though this is a film that says that no one flirts with Angela Bassett and that might be the biggest lie Hollywood has made us swallow in years. But it was also good to see that the boys are actually about to mix it with some of the best talents in the business and that is no easy task. This is all helped with a strong supporting cast, that really made those moments when it all fell apart work as well as it did.
a story perspective, it was a predictable though interesting arc to the story,
though to explore that given the nature of the film, there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. At the start, the
mothers laid down very clear reasons why they feel abandoned, but there are
very real reasons that distance has been created between them. As the film goes
on we get to see that when it comes to separation sometimes it takes two to
tango. I liked that both sides learned something about each other, sometimes
things they didn’t want to know. It is hard to see when those manipulations get
thrown back in your face. This makes the film really charming at times, but
also really harsh and brutal at others. As the story goes on there are these
moments that almost mirror each other as the characters arcs develop, this does
make the story a little predictable at times, but then it also has a wonderful
rise and fall.
While there are a lot of things that really work with the film there are some aspects of the production that didn’t quite work as well. I know that product placement is a thing in films, but here it is not even subtle and there are times when it is really distracting. It feels like the characters were always in a shop buying things, not because it was integral to their character but because of the logos involved. To add to this, the musical score features a floating piano that just does not jive with the tone the film is going for and became really distracting at times.
In the end, do we recommend Otherhood? Yes, yes we do. It is fun at times, serious at others, but always entertaining. There was also a joy to the film that clearly came from the cast having a ball which is always good to see.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Otherhood
Directed by – Cindy Chupack
Screenplay by – Cindy Chupack & Mark Andrus
Based on – Whatever Makes You Happy by William Sutcliffe
Music by – Marcelo Zarvos
Cinematography by – Declan Quinn
Edited by – Sunny Hodge and Kevin Tent
Production/Distribution Companies – Mandalay Pictures, Welle Entertainment & Netflix
Starring – Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette, Felicity Huffman, Jake Hoffman, Sinqua Walls, Jake Lacy, Heidi Gardner, Molly Bernard, Emily Tremaine, Mario Cantone, Becki Newton, Tim Bagley, Frank De Julio, Stephen Kunken, Damian Young, Afton Williamson & Cozy Corwin
Rating – Australia: around an MA15+