Director: Eva Husson
Writers: Alice Birch, Graham Swift
Stars: Odessa Young, Josh O’Connor, Colin Firth
The title “Mother’s Sunday” could suggest that this would be a good day for your mother to see as “a good gift”. Which you would actually like to do, as long as you set expectations first! Because this is a beautifully crafted, if flawed, story of life after the First World War. A film that focuses less on those who die in battle and more on those left behind. Read all movies reviews at Entertainment Fun Online website.
This movie looks stunning (cinematography by Jamie Ramsay), from the close-ups of Odessa Young, to the bucolic bike rides through the tree-lined roads of England, to the luscious lovemaking scenes. All perfectly set and beautifully lit. You could take many of the stills from this movie and adorn the walls of an art exhibit with them.
Where does Odessa Young come from? The Sydney-born actress is simply fabulous here, commanding a regal presence for the camera. It’s also a gutsy performance with sex and extensive full frontal nudity. This includes a nude walk through the old house that might feel exploitative if the writer or director had been a man. (The ladies also get full frontal views of Josh O’Connor, which adds balance to the film. This, frankly, is often lacking in films of this type.)
The rest of the acting from the ensemble cast is also top notch. Colin Firth is endearingly awful (in a big way) as Mr. Niven, always tiptoeing around tension in a very English way with platitudes about the weather. Olivia Colman is also magnificent: when is she not? I saw a user review here saying that she “marked her performance” on her, which I couldn’t disagree with more. It is a living portrait of pain and anger. “You are so lucky,” she tells Jane at one point, “to be so deeply afflicted at birth.” The fact that she does virtually nothing to her face until a single dramatic explosion is the epitome of the perfect performance, where ‘less is more’.
I liked the way the film adequately reflected the social damage of the war. We’ve been here before, with episodes of “Downton Abbey” for example, but the fact that it was set so many years after the conflict but was still so invasive gave me a lot of room to think.
Complementing a strong all-female team behind the camera is composer Morgan Kibby with an engaging and engaging score.
The events shown have an involving story that shows Jane’s life as a later writer, both in a middle-aged relationship with the philosopher Donald (Sope Dirisu) and in her life as an old woman (where Jane is played by GlendaJackson). It’s a real treat to see Ms. Jackson on screen again: amazingly, according to IMDB, her last big screen appearance of hers was in 1990! However, these structural elements of the story did not work for me. Although he could be accused of ‘not understanding what the writer was trying to do’ (wrong, I get it), there is a case here, at least in the film version, for a ‘simple is good’ approach. I think the underlying story set in 1924 was gripping and engaging enough not to require the complexity introduced by these later scenes. I would have preferred a simpler 90 minute movie focused on that story. (I haven’t read Graham Swift’s book: maybe this all works better as a novel?)
Typecasting is a terrible thing, but Josh O’Connor bears such a striking resemblance to Prince Charles that sometimes it’s hard not to think “Oh, I just saw the parts of the future king”!
Summary of thoughts on “Mothering Sunday”: It’s the acting and the cinematography that set it apart for me. Although it had its irritations, I found this to be a beautiful and attractive watch. The story is perhaps a bit predictable. But overall, this is a very well made and thought-provoking movie that gets my thumbs up.
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