TIFF 2015 Review: My Mother
It is said that nothing is certain in life except for death and taxes, and yet Mommy and/or Daddy issues are an everyday, prevalent part of society’s worries and unconscious mind as well. It is the stuff history books, the field of psychology, and much literature is centered upon, and now the broad topic on which renowned actor/director Nanni Moretti’s latest film is focused on.
My Mother (Mia Madre) is a quiet meditation on the ties that bind mothers and daughters, and the exhaustive, emotional toll the slow death of one’s mother can take on her children. Like Moretti’s previous films (notably his most recent, Habemus Papam), he and his team of co-screenwriters deftly oscillate the tone from family drama (stopping just short of soapy melodrama by the closing scenes) to satirical comedy.
At its core is Margherita (Margherita Buy), a successful director who is in the midst of filming a heavy-handed drama about a factory worker strike. Her lead actor Barry Huggins (John Turturro, a delight as the outlandish comedic foil of the film) is a handful however. Egocentric, narcissistic, forgetful of all his lines, the man-child is difficult to work with, to say the least. Following each production day of struggling to work with Barry, Margherita visits her beloved mother Ada (Giulia Lazzarini), who is slowly dying and losing her formerly sharp mental capacity. In her valiant attempt to juggle work and family (her brother, daughter, and former lovers, as well as her mother), her otherwise strong veneer begins to crack.
Margherita Buy gives a tour de force performance of a woman gone emotionally and mentally astray as she loses grip on her tower of strength, her mother. The film will resonate deeply for those who can’t bear to live without their mothers (issues aside).