Sunday, January 10, 2010


Hello, Need Help!

The Bride now becomes the Mom and that somehow didn't translate quite well for local audiences, given the limited release which so far hasn't gained much traction if going by the looks of the session I attended. Hopefully this should still find a niche market amongst the mothers here for the issues raised that would strike a chord, which is about just what Motherhood means, unless of course like Uma Thurman's Eliza, the real moms out there are too bogged down by their tasks to find time to take in a movie.

Written and directed by Katherine Dieckmann and set in Manhattan, New York, there might be a few topics and incidents raised that are location specific, but these offer a kind of slice of life peek into urban living in the big apple, and the challenges faced with raising kids in the city. For instance, I cannot fathom how parking could be that much of an issue and hassle, despite experiencing parking woes here as well in a different capacity. And being a film in NY, it has its rudimentary quirks pointing back at film that we rarely take into consideration, such as the inconveniences posed by film crews to the residents when doing location shoots, or hilarious put, the “mama”-razzis who naturally point and shoot with their cameras when a celebrity mom pass their way (look out for Jodie Foster's cameo!)

But those aside, Motherhood unfolds over a single day, following Eliza as she packs in a hectic schedule from the time she wakes up, until the time she goes to bed. It's the same for all moms I suppose, with the natural maternal instincts kicking in and their family obligations and responsibility go into overdrive to take care of, and provide. Through a single day, the story examines what Motherhood essentially means, and the multi-facets involved that just demands excellent multi-tasking skills, with each assignment for the day requiring extreme focus, from grocery shopping to picking up the kids, and worse for Eliza, having to organize a birthday party for her 6 year old Clara (Daisy Tahan).

Which is surprising that she still finds the time to blog, but that serves as therapy, and a plot device to tell all that she still can't get the writer out of her, and through an advertised contest, has taken upon herself to submit a piece on Motherhood in order to secure a regular writing column that pays well. After all, their household requires additional income to augment that of her husband's (Anthony Edwards) who seem to disappear and not lend a hand around the house – the opening montage would make some feel quite guilty – and one wonders just how much patience mothers actually have in tolerating non-assistance, or when they will actually cry out for help should they snap.

One often forget that parenting is a full time job, full of repetitive, and often menial tasks that calls for plenty of endurance, skill, and Love, a key essential ingredient without which everything else would seem quite impossible. Besides exalting the virtues of Motherhood, the film also reminds that it doesn't mean one has to give up one's dreams to take care of the family, though sacrifices are called for from time to time in parenting. Uma Thurman plays the frenzied Eliza perfectly, looking quite geeky with her spectacles, and her messy hairdo, and with that level of edginess that threatens to explode at any unsuspecting victim who unwittingly crosses her path.

But what took the cake is the hypocrisy that Eliza sometimes lapses into, which makes her all the more human and believable, and I wonder just how many of us are guilty as charged where we tend to take care of our own by expecting values out of others, yet be able to turn around and violate the same without much thought. Live and let live goes the mantra.

While not perfect and with scenes that curiously stick out, such as the extended episode with the delivery guy (Arjun Gupta) that seemed to want to suggest something of a subplot that needed to head a certain direction, then backed out, this film still has pretty much what it takes to talk about its main theme, but perhaps something more fun will be to learn about or trade stories and experiences with real moms. And save on the ticket cost, unless you're a fan of Uma Thurman of course.

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