The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures Classics - 2009
Feature running time: 127 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English, French, Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Audio Description track Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French,Portuguese, Hindi
Starring: Annette Bening, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits, Kerry Washington, Naomi Watts
Directed by: Rodrigo Garcia
Music by: Ed Shearmur
Written by: Rodrigo Garcia
Region Code: A/B/C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 14, 2010
"Motherhood should be something simpler..."
From writer-director Rodrigo Garcia (TV'S "Big Love", "Nine Lives") and executive producer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Babel") comes the moving story of three women and the power of the unbreakable bond between mother and child. Three women's lives share a common core: the have all been profoundly affected by adoption. Karen (Annette Bening) placed a baby for adoption at age 14 and has been haunted ever since by the daughter she never knew. Elizabeth (Naomi Watts) grew up as an adopted child; she's a bright and ambitious lawyer, but a flinty loner in her personal life. Lucy (Kerry Washington) and her husband are just embarking on the adoption odyssey, hoping for the opportunity to become parents.
My Take:'Mother and Child' is an interconnecting story of 3 woman and their relationship with their child. There is the Mother (Annette Bening) who is forced to give her baby up at the age of 14. She starts to really feel regret and resentment as she is watching her mother, who forced her to give the baby up, dying. She is socially awkward and is brought out of her shell when she meets Paco (Jimmy Smits). He convinces her it might be the right time to seek out her daughter after over 35 years. Then there is Lucy, played by Kerry Washington (The Last King of Scotland, Lakeview Terrace), who is desperately trying to adopt a baby because she and her husband cannot conceive. She wants this so desperately, she alienates her husband, doesn't listen to reason and takes a leap of faith, trying to adopt the child of a unrelentingly difficult young pregnant girl. Lastly we have Naomi Watts as Elizabeth, a high power attorney who is is cold, distant and alone. The fact that she was adopted has messed with her head and how she treats others. She uses men (I would have no problem with this), moves law firm to law firm, and has no real friends. She is scarred by not having a mother and struggles on whether or not to look for her. When she takes a new lover (Samuel L. Jackson), her world is turned upside down.
This film came out of left field for me. I had not heard of it, I was not expecting to be as taken by it as I was, and the performances were great all around. Kerry Washington delivers an Oscar worthy performance as Lucy, owning the part and flawlessly showing almost every emotion possible. The scene where she breaks-down, flailing in a utter desperation was done so well, I believed it was real. Too bad this has went under so many peoples radar; I suspect it's because it is a heavy adult drama and it's aimed at woman, dealing specifically with adoption and its effects on 'Mother and Child'. It hit home for me as someone very close just met her biological mother at age 33. I got to witness this first hand, and watched the film with her. If you want to see a real slice-of-life, with well fleshed-out characters, amazing acting, this film should be high on your list.
Rated R for sexuality, brief nudity, and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
'Mother and Child' is a decent looking Blu-ray from Sony home entertainment. I saw no effects of compression, and it looked as if it was faithful to its not-too impressive source material. Flesh-tones and the everyday world look realistic enough and fine details do stand out quite a bit. However, there is a dull look to the film, contrast seems bumped up at times and the over-all color scheme has no real pop. Like I said, it's a decent transfer and far superior to a DVD, just not a the top of the Blu-ray heap. Same goes for the DTS-HD MA track. It is basically piano and dialogue. Both are do sound great, and the Piano soundtrack stands out by filling the left and right channel as the dialogue is primarily focused in the center. There is hardly any surround activity, but there really needn't be, and LFE is limited as well. The track is mixed well for what it is... a drama.
- (HD) Creating the Family Tree
- (HD) Universally Connected
- (HD) Deleted Scenes with Introductions by Director Rodrigo Garcia
- (HD) Trailers: You will meet a tall dark stranger, Tamara Drewe ,Inside Job, I Get Low, Made in Dagenham
- BD Live enabled
- movie IQ
'Mother and Child' is a bitter pill. I got mileage out of the story and acting, but don't think this is a movie for everyone. In watching the special features writer/director Rodrigo Garcia said he had been working this story idea for 10 years, never getting it to a completed form. When he came up with adding in the storyline of Lucy (Kerry Washington), he said he knew it was time to make the movie. Franky without her storyline I wouldn't have liked this film at all. If you want to see a break through performance by Kerry Washington and do enjoy adult drama's with no action elements, I think you will enjoy giving this a spin. Worst case your wife is happy with your choice for an evening
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS35 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Pioneer SC27 Receiver (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Pioneer Elite BDP-23FD Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer