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Two Thumbs Up for ‘Motherhood’

Guest Post from Christina Galoozis:

Last night was the first time I had ever gone to the cinema by myself. Ironically, the movie was about moms who can’t catch a quiet moment for themselves.

But I enjoyed all 90 minutes of mine.

The film was “Motherhood,” starring Uma Thurman, Anthony Edwards and Minnie Driver. Thurman plays Eliza Welch, a mom blogger who struggles to get through the day planning her 6-year-old’s birthday party and writing an essay about the meaning of motherhood. (The winning essayist gets a paid gig as a full-time blogger, which is overwhelmingly appealing to Eliza who was a professional writer before her mommy days.)

In other frantic-mommy movies, like “One Fine Day” (1996), small disasters happen throughout the day that dramatize the role of burned-out mothers. But Eliza’s day in “Motherhood” is eerily typical of any mom’s day—she walks out the door unshowered and in her nightgown, but shops at a sample sale and types a blogpost while her toddler naps at the park. She meets several real-life mom counterparts like the earthy, semi-self-righteous flake and the hoity toity, well-dressed yuppie who probably has a nanny. She is judged, and judges in return. She folds laundry and has a fight with her best friend.

The movie is unashamedly real. She’s not running around like a mad woman, yet you can feel her franticness during even the quietest moments. While pushing her son in the swings, for instance, you can tell she is worrying about all the things she hasn’t accomplished yet that day. And every chance she gets, she sits behind her laptop, desperately trying to connect with someone, somewhere, who knows how she feels. When she is summoned away from her Macbook, she begs for just a few more minutes to finish writing. (Perhaps she just enjoys the solitude.)

Eliza never goes off the deep end, unless you think escaping to Jersey for a few minutes is going off the deep end, but instead finally expresses what so many mothers end up realizing at some point in their lives. Without revealing the film’s culmination and ultimate message, I can say Eliza’s dialogue with her husband in their Volvo station wagon is something all moms will identify with. In the theatre, I was able to pick out the moms from the non-moms just by their reactions to certain scenes, especially this one. I even cried a little, knowing that so many women share such deep, common emotions.

Will the film critics like “Motherhood”? My guess is they’ll be lukewarm. I sat next to one—but I doubt he understood the empathy and validation emanating from the film.

If anything, the film got me out of the house, on my own, without the baby or husband in tow. “Motherhood” was a night to myself, allowing some overdue reflection on my difficult but exceedingly joyful job as a mother.

Leaving the theatre, I felt a little more at peace with my performance so far.

Christina Galoozis is a freelance writer living in Chicago. She writes about small business, parenting and sustainability issues and can be reached through her website, http://christinagaloozis.weebly.com.

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