Starring: Uma Thurman, Anthony Edwards, Minnie Driver
Written & Directed By: Katherine Diekmann
Oddly enough the film at Sundance that I felt portrayed the true meaning of motherhood best was actually the vampiric horror drama, Grace. Motherhood will likely work for some who can understand the hectic nature, but it feels a bit one noted at times. It is a decent movie that has a very muddled nature that works with the situation to a certain extent, but ultimately holds the film back.
Eliza (Thurman), a mother of two, has a very crazy day in front of her. She has a massive list of things she has to get done, most of which revolve around her children. It is her daughter’s birthday so she has to get the party ready as well. She still needs to get decorations, the cake, and several other things. Also, she regularly blogs every day about what her day is like. When she does this she finds an opportunity to get paid to blog if she can turn in an essay about what motherhood means to her by the end of the day. During the day she also has to take care of her son as well since he is not in school yet.
So the question is whether or not Eliza can get done everything her kids need her to as well as getting her writing done for herself. She used to be a writer professionally, but it has been quite a long time since she has been able to write. Eliza is hoping this will be her opportunity to get back in to it. Eliza’s car ends up getting towed since they are filming on her block. Now she has to ride her bike back and forth for all of the errands she still needs to get done to get ready for the party. Her husband is no help at all and puts everything on her shoulders. Throughout the day, things just seem to be piling up more and more, driving her sanity away further.
Uma Thurman did pretty well with what she was given, although I think her character could have been developed a lot more. She does work with all of the crisis well and is believable as Eliza. Minnie Driver gave the best performance as Eliza’s best friend. She added some much needed comic relief and had great energy and charisma. Even the way she delivered her dialogue helped give the film a more comedic and light hearted tone. Anthony Edwards does pretty well as the neglecting husband. He does pin a lot of the responsibility on his wife, but shows a caring side to him as well. Jodie Foster has a quick cameo as the mother of one of the kids that goes to the same school as Thurman’s child. The paparazzi swarms around her as she shows plenty of attitude.
There is a certain amount of humor in how hectic and overwhelming things are, but it is played up for most of the movie and the joke doesn’t stay fresh through all of this time. The film does have its’ funny moments, particularly when Eliza is at the store getting things for her daughters party. It shows retail hell and how aggravating people can be at the worst times. When Eliza comes back with her overwhelmingly number of bags, a young man helps Eliza with the bags. There are very interesting interactions between the two. The boy talks to her about her writing and her life. He helps bring out that inner youth, joy, and independence in her just in the very brief moments that he is in the film. He stood out as one of the most powerful characters and actors in the film. I really wish they would have done more with this as it could made up for that missing element that was just barely holding the film back.
Mothers will probably be able to enjoy this movie more than those who aren’t, just for that relating quality, being able to compare it to moments in their own lives where things became this crazy and overwhelming. I found it amusing and I did feel for Eliza to an extent, wanting her to be a good mother as well as do something for herself. One of the biggest problems is that Eliza’s big triumph seemed so minuscule and a weak conclusion. Personally, I didn’t feel like it gave Eliza a chance to grow, but I suppose the point is life changes and little rewards through family and passions can be more rewarding than solely your own success.