Last night Walter and I watched the movie Mother & Child on DSTV’s channel 107.
Mother and Child is an American drama film directed and written by Rodrigo García, and stars Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington, Shareeka Epps and Samuel L. Jackson. It premiered on September 14, 2009 at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival and at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2010, and was the closing night selection within Maryland Film Festival 2010. It was given a limited release in the United States beginning May 7, 2010.
When she was 14, Karen (Annette Bening) became pregnant and gave her daughter up for adoption. The decision to give up her child has always haunted her. Upon meeting laid-back Paco (Jimmy Smits), Karen permits her anxiety and mistrust to get the best of her. She gradually calms her anxiety through the relationship with Paco.
Karen’s daughter, Elizabeth (Naomi Watts), grows up to be solitary, willful, and hardhearted. She is hired as an attorney at a prestigious law firm headed by Paul (Samuel L. Jackson). They have an affair, and she becomes pregnant. She quits without informing Paul of her condition, and moves to a new apartment and a new job. She deposits a letter for her biological mother in the organization that arranged the adoption.
Lucy (Kerry Washington) is a baker who longs to be a mother, but cannot have children of her own. She and her husband, Joseph (David Ramsey), contact the same adoption agency and meet with a prospective mother. After a protracted interview period, the mother agrees to give the couple her baby, but changes her mind after giving birth. Lucy is devastated.
When this movie ended, both Walter & I were silent. I turned over onto my side in bed and let my tears silently fall. It was only when I heard sniffing that I realized Walter was crying to.
Wow! Just wow! What a movie.
Each of us were touched by different aspects of this film. For Walter the story within the story that affected him the most was how damaged Elizabeth was by her adoption experience. It was almost as if she went out of her way to sabotage herself and make herself unlovable. She was not an easy character to like. What I really liked about this movie is the accuracy within the story. Elizabeth is not just damaged because she is adopted, she is filled with self loathing and damaged because she lost her adopted father as a young child and never had a close relationship with her adoptive mother. I also took from the story that her adopted parents had not done a very good job of talking to her about her adoption, about explaining to her why her birth mother, Karen, had placed her. So instead of growing up with a sense of understanding of who she was and where she came from, she grew up filled with self loathing and repeating the cycle of her feelings of rejection and being unlovable.
Karen’s story really touched me. How she lived with the regret and being haunted by the placement of her daughter. How that single event set the tone for the rest of her life. Last night, as my tears flowed, I was unable to stop thinking about our birth mothers. While in reality, I know that our birth mothers live with the choice they had made and I know there must be times when it’s incredibly painful for them, to see their story played out in the movie, left me profoundly affected and even more determined to love my girls with every fiber of my being and to do what is right by them and to do my best for them always.
Lucy’s story also rang true for me, having experienced an adoption loss ourselves, that scene had me hiccuping and crying my eyes out.
I have left off a key part of the plot because there is something that happens in this film that will take your breath away and remind you to live your life with no regrets and to not wait until tomorrow to do or say something important, to not be held back by fear.
If you have adopted, are a birth mother, thinking about adoption or know someone who is thinking about or has adopted, I’d highly recommend you watch this movie. While the story is purely fiction, it portrays the beauty and the pain, the love and the cruelty of adoption perfectly.
All Screenings of this Movie: