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The Mother

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Recently widowed May (Anne Reid) moves in with her oh-so-contemporary grown children in London, and embarks on an affair with her daughter's lover, a dissolute, if charming carpenter. While May finds the relationship liberating, its existence becomes a time bomb in an already fragile family. This film, directed by Roger Michell from a script by Hanif Kureishi, is closer to the wince-inducing micro-dramas of fellow countryman Mike Leigh than to Michell's 1999 film, the big-box-office romantic fantasy Notting Hill. Unlike Leigh's films, though, The Mother merely flirts with its underlying class anxieties, and it gives odd short shrift to certain characters who the film suggests ought to be crucial to the psychodrama. Reid delivers on the quintessentially "gutsy" middle-aged woman role (cue nudity and humiliation), and throughout, The Mother remains mostly a well-acted, elegantly shot domestic soap opera, a BBC-produced drama where all the carefully placed teacups get knocked over. 3 cameras

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