Mother's Day Blues
In Otherhood, three empty-nest mothers try to reconnect with their sons who have moved from the suburbs and now live in New York City. Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette and Felicity Huffman seem to have a great time portraying these women, who share brunch together every Mother’s Day. And they make us believe their characters are longtime friends concerned about how their sons are getting along without them. But sadly, it’s not such a great time watching this diverse momma trio in action. I can’t help wondering why the film got billed as a comedy.
However, Bassett brings lots of energy to the role of a widow still living in the family home and missing her husband as well as feeling disappointed because of her son’s (Sinqua Walls) job with an adult magazine; Arquette transforms herself into a rather frumpy matchmaker for her son (Jake Hoffman), who wants to be a writer; and Huffman definitely looks and acts like a mom more concerned about her appearance than her gay son (Jake Lacy).
Three moms miss their three grownup sons.
They feel left out, for each son shuns
his mom on Mother’s Day each year.
These moms are in dire need of cheer.
A New York visit they decide.
So off they go on a long ride.
Surprise! They say to the three men.
Why does this meet with such chagrin?
Their sons now have lives of their own.
Not dependent, they’re fully grown.
Can moms and sons really connect?
Otherhood shows what you’d expect.
Short on laughter, the fun seems fake.
Pouts and shouting are hard to take.
Three lovely stars try acting their best.
Yet humor fails the comedy test.
During the visit to New York City, many emotional scenes take place, and not just between mothers and sons but also among the mothers themselves. Secrets are revealed, lovers reunite, attitudes change, longtime friendships get challenged, and a revealing make-over for one character is arranged.
I do recommend Otherhood for Angela Bassett fans. With her beautiful speaking voice, marvelous articulation and ability to express a wide range of emotions, she won me over in such films as What’s Love Got To Do with It, Waiting to Exhale, and Akeelah and the Bee. She’s also a treat to watch in this new film, especially because of the dramatic changes in her character.
On another positive note, Otherhood highlights the importance of empathy, friendship, communication, compassion, and the mother/son relationship. Plus, not one car chase, superhero, or monster appears on screen.
Mothers are always inscrutable beings to their sons, always. --- A. E. Coppard
Happy is the son whose faith in his mother remains unchallenged. --- Louisa May Alcott
(Released by Netflix and rated “R” by MPAA.)