Sunday, October 25, 2009

Guest Blog Post: Review of MOTHERHOOD the Movie -- by PTA Mom

Synopsis: Eliza Welch (Uma Thurman) is a former fiction writer-turned-mom-blogger with her own site, “The Bjorn Identity.” Eliza lives and works in two rent-stabilized apartments in a walk-up tenement building smack in the middle of an otherwise upscale Greenwich Village. Starting at dawn, her to-do list is daunting: prepare for and throw her daughter’s 6th birthday party, mind her toddler son, battle for a parking space during an epic alternate side parking showdown, navigate playground politics with overbearing moms, and mend a rift after posting her best friend’s confession on her blog. On top of it all, Eliza decides to enter a contest run by an upscale parenting magazine. All she has to do is write 500 words answering the deceptively simple question, “What Does Motherhood Mean to Me?”

I had the opportunity to interview Katherine Dieckmann- the Director, Anthony Edwards, who plays the husband, and Uma. The movie background is interesting: 1) the movie was made almost entirely by women, 2) they shot it with a modest budget, mostly in the West Village in 25 days, and 3) Minnie Driver, who plays Eliza’s best friend, was actually pregnant in her third trimester, so they worked the pregnancy into the role. By working with mostly women on set, they tend to have been in your position before and / or have an understanding of what you’ve gone through because they’ve been there. So when one of the producer’s kids was sick, she brought him to the set so she could keep an eye on him. Kids were always welcome. How wonderful! That wouldn’t happen in most places of work. That’s why you see sick children being dropped off late to school with running noses or holding brown bags in case they get sick because their parents couldn’t find someone to watch them while they worked.
Besides supporting women in film, $1 from every ticket sold to Motherhood via website – during the film’s first two weeks – will go to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Additionally, Anthony Edwards seems like a genuinely super nice guy in real-life (they all were, but heck, they are actors) and is taking part in the New York Marathon on November 1 for Shoe4Africa – an organization for which he sits on the Board of Directors – which aims for empowerment through sports & education, creating unique health initiatives, and promoting Aids awareness. 

Dieckmann based the script somewhat loosely on her own life experiences of raising children in NYC. And both Edwards and Thurman have children in the city- Edwards has 4, and Thurman 2, so they do understand the demands of being a “City Mama/ Dada.”

Although I thought it was a cute movie, and enjoyable enough, I didn’t feel a connection to the main character. Just because we are Moms and are connected by the shear fact that someone calls us that, doesn’t mean we are all the same. Yes, there is the mundane-- like picking up socks and shopping for goody bag items--which no one likes. Yes, we feel as if we may have “lost” a little piece of ourselves, and long for the days when your husband looks at you like you’re the sexy mama that you are and sometimes you may want to run away from it all, but do you really run away? Come on? Would you ever really get into a car on your daughters 6th birthday and drive to New Jersey? Go have a glass of wine, take a bath or whatever else it is that helps you calm down.

I guess I’m judgmental of her. Yes, I’m calling it out—I’m one of those. I’ve never taken my child to school in my nightgown, although I have put my child into the car and almost forgot to buckle him in, but I would never knowingly drive around the block after someone told me he wasn’t strapped in. I do not smoke, and don’t judge Eliza for needing to light up after a particularly harrowing traffic showdown for a parking space. I get it- she’s stressed- everyone needs a relief. The husband doesn’t help. She used to have a career, comb her hair, be someone…Whaaaaaa,Whaaaaa. I can hear the violins now.

Minnie Driver, who plays the best friend, steals the movie (well, and a very cute messenger boy). She and her husband, who were splitting up—had “make up” sex and she got pregnant. So now, she’s pregnant and left to raise the baby and her other child alone. The funniest scene was while they were shopping at a sample sale, which Eliza surprisingly fits into her busy day rather than recognizing the fact that she had other priorities, and Minnie Driver’s character reveals an encounter with a motorized toy boat. Need I say more? Very funny.

I think some Moms who see this will relate to the struggles that Eliza is coping with. We are all excellent multi-taskers, or at least, many of us are. After all, we wouldn’t be able to do any of the things we do without that ability. And that task oriented, get the job done attitude whether you work out-of-the-house or not, is one thing we all have in common.

PTA Mom is a writer for, a lifestyle guide for women over 40. You can also follow her updates on Twitter @PTA_Mom.

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