The Mother – 2003 | 112mins | Drama | Colour
Roger Michell’s contrived drama focuses on a widowed mother’s lust for her daughter’s lover. Hanif Kureishi’s uneven script spends the early scenes setting up the family background and eponymous mother May’s character until speedily introducing the relationship between Darren and May. The swiftness of the liaison stretches credibility as sixty-something May invites the young stud to her bedroom after only a couple of fleeting encounters and the recent passing of her beloved husband. TV actress Anne Reid gives the story a mature focal point that manages to hold things together for much of the film despite the odd lapse in character believability, Daniel Craig meanwhile cuts a convincing figure until a sharp change in nature to narcissistic displeasure, and Steven Mackintosh is especially good as the remote yuppie with monetary worries.
A devoted wife who’s enjoyed a traditional marriage in a leafy suburban town, May (Anne Reid) travels with husband Toots (Peter Vaughan) to visit their children and grandchildren in West London. The elderly couple arrive early at the home of son Bobby (Steven Mackintosh) and his wife, Helen (Anna Wilson Jones). The workaholic young professionals have two young children and a superficial lifestyle with little room for their parents.
May and Toots daughter, the free-spirited single mother Paula (Cathryn Bradshaw), lives a less comfortable but equally chaotic existence in a nearby home. Whilst staying overnight at Paula’s home May discovers her secret married lover to be Darren (Daniel Craig), the laid-back handyman building Bobby’s conservatory. When Toots suddenly dies of a heart attack, May is left alone, and to Bobby and Helen’s obvious discomfort, she ends up staying with them. Initially opposed to Darren, whom she considers beneath her daughter, May starts to develop a liking for the virile guy when they’re alone in the house during the daytime.
The duo share a few walks around town before May grasps the nettle and invites Darren to make love to her upstairs – an offer she accepts without a moments hesitation. May pursues her attraction to Darren whilst trying to persuade her unwitting daughter to break off her relationship with the bearded lothario.
Roger Michell: Director
Mark Digby: Art Direction
Alwin H Kuchler: Cinematography
Natalie Ward: Costume Design
Nicolas Gaster: Film Editing
Konnie Daniel: Makeup Department
Jeremy Sams: Original Music
Kevin Loader: Producer
Mark Tildesley: Production Design
Hanif Kureishi: Script
Danny Hambrook: Sound Department
Stewart Henderson: Sound Department
Anne Reid: May
Daniel Craig: Darren
Peter Vaughan: Toots
Steven Mackintosh: Bobby
Anna Wilson-Jones: Helen
Danira Govich: Au Pair
Harry Michell: Harry
Rosie Michell: Rosie