. Definitely not
Mother's Day viewing. If any of you were thinking of taking your dear, sweet Mum to a late movie, do yourselves both a favour: skip this one.
I saw it during last year's TIFF, mainly because I wanted to watch Daniel Craig (who played Connor Rooney in Road to Perdition
and, earlier, George Dyer in Love is the Devil
I lay the problems with the film squarely at the keyboard of scriptwriter Hanif Kureishi. Kureishi (My Beautiful Laundrette
) is capable of writing with charm, humour, and wit, but somehow failed to apply any of the above to this film.
[Plot Spoilers follow]
Anne Reid plays May, a sixty-ish grandmother. Following the sudden death of her husband, she moves to London to stay with her son and daughter, in their respective households. The son has implausibly bratty children, is mortgaged to the hilt, and given a shortcut characterization as Yuppie Scum. The daughter has Issues with her mother, and problems of her own, one of which is an affair with Darren (played by Craig), a married man who won't leave his wife and handicapped child.
You might well ask: for heaven's sake, what kind of selfish git with a handicapped child has an affair? Well, the same kind of selfish git who then has another
affair with his lover's mother
. Yeah, right. Get this man a spot on Geraldo
Surprisingly - despite the script's second-rate dramatics the rest of the time - the scene in the film when the affair starts is actually quite good. With those few tentative words and moments of hesitation, it captures that blend of vulnerability, uncertainty, courage and yearning at the start of a new sexual relationship. Loneliness may partially lie behind May's crush on Darren; for his part, he seems to (initially, anyway) accept her invitation out of kindness.
If the film had explored things from there, without complicating the plot with duped daughters, etc., it may have been really
worth making, and viewing. As it was, up to the point when Kureishi gave up and inserted Arbitrary Plot Turn #8, it was merely semi-watchable.
To quote The Guardian
: [Reid and Craig] are two first-rate performers who submit to their pairing with professionalism and dedication. They deserved a better film than this.
They aren't the only ones.