By Keeva Stratton
In a collage of stories that each have a mother—or mother relationship—at their core, Mother’s Day is a feel good film that’s arguably as commercially inclined as the day itself has become.
An adopted daughter finally confronts her birth mother; a lesbian daughter and a daughter who has married a man of Indian heritage reveal their relationships to their deeply conservative parents; a mum whose ex-husband has recently remarried a model half her age comes to terms with the inclusion of a sexy step-mum; and a family whose mother died the year prior tries to embrace her spirit as they attempt move forward.
These are the loosely intertwined stories that we follow in Mother’s Day, and each seems determined to remind us how human our mothers are, and also how special. And they are, which is what makes Mother’s Day endearing (go mums!). It’s also delivered by an all-star cast who, almost in defiance of the clichéd script, manage to bring some truly funny and genuine moments to life throughout the film.
Julia Roberts as the home network sales star is particularly good, and Jennifer Aniston reprises her likeable girl-next-door persona with aplomb. Fundamentally though, the film’s flaw is its lack of depth. While coursing across some of the most challenging and difficult issues many of us contend with—in-laws or parents who object to our choice in partner, homophobia, racism, custody disputes, death and disconnection from a biological parent—with a sense of whimsy, the film left me feeling a little uncomfortable by its willingness to indulge in schmaltzy outcomes and uber happy endings.
Though, by the thunderous laughter surrounding me in the screening, it would seem I am in the minority. This sample audience’s response would suggest that the public is happy to be happy, especially when it comes to stories about Mum.
This is a high gloss film; glittering with stars and champagne comedy. If you like your films light and bright, without pause for any of the authentically raw emotions that would naturally be associated with any one of these story lines, then go on, take your mum and go see Mother’s Day. Based on the audience’s response, you’ll likely have a good time. I’m pretty sure my Mum will love it.
However, to have a film with the extraordinary talents of Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson, and to offer them such light substance to work with, truly breaks my heart. These women deserve better, and women in general deserve to have their stories told with greater authenticity. Relationships are difficult, and many people struggle tremendously with the issues raised in this film, which is why I’m struggling to embrace its glib style.
Director: Gary Marshall
Stars: Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson
Runtime: 158 mins
Release Date: 28 April
Reviewer Rating: 2/5