Mother and Child 2009

Critics score:
78 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Phillips, At the Movies: This movie's calm, steady control keeps a wide variety of good actors in the same universe. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: [Garcia] lets the picture start to go soft in the middle, and teary melodrama floods in like water from a broken dam. Read more

Kathleen Murphy, MSN Movies: Still, stellar actresses Annette Bening and Naomi Watts rise above every impediment, delivering memorably luminous moments as mother and child, separated at birth. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: Mother and Child is suffused with grief and loss. It's also suffused with compassion and insight. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: It's a case of three exceptional actresses -- Annette Bening, Naomi Watts and Kerry Washington -- constituting an ensemble of obviousness. Read more

John Hartl, Seattle Times: This is an actors' showcase first, and clearly Garcia enjoys demonstrating what this ensemble can do. Read more

Keith Phipps, AV Club: It would feel overly theatrical if Watts, Bening, and Washington didn't convey the vulnerability beneath every firm demurral, lacerating insult, and refusal to engage. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: If Garcia's film never quite catches up with his ambitions for it, well, at least he's trying. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Mother and Child keeps the traffic moving smoothly, much more so than a movie like Crash, because Garcia writes characters rather than positions, and he knows that the silences between people usually speak louder than their words. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: This is well worth seeing for Bening's arresting, unpleasant performance. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: A screenwriter's butterfly flaps its wings and a chain of events is set into motion, resulting in the latest cinematic ensemble tale of connectivity and yearning. This one's good, though. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: If you are a regular moviegoer who can't get enough of the daytime soaps, look no further than Mother and Child. It has enough soapy story lines to fill out at least three daytime series for a month. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: So many stories come packaged in hyped genres that we can forget how much character can hold sway. Watts, Bening and Washington -- along with a fine ensemble and a humane director -- make sure we remember. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: Obviously, this is emotionally rich ground and Garcia plows it perhaps a bit too heavily. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: Woe, by the way, unto the good, decent men who cross these women's paths. In the ovarian jungle of Mother and Child, each gent is undervalued in his own way. Read more

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: Significant credit goes to these committed actors, who are forced to give speeches and make choices regularly at odds with authentic human behavior. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: The film is an actors' showcase that Bening makes the most of. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: One of the many pleasures in this exemplary film is watching the women grow and evolve, revealing more about themselves in each successive scene. Fraught with pitfalls, the narrative comes together seamlessly. Read more

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: The fine actors show how we bond to those not related to us by blood -- and also how we love. Bring Kleenex. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Of all the performances, Samuel L. Jackson's is the most surprising. It sometimes appears that the busy Jackson will take almost any role to stay working. This film provides a reminder of his subtlety. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Dynamite performances from Annette Bening and Naomi Watts ignite this strong drama from writer-director Rodrigo Garcia. Read more

Lisa Rosman, Garcia has achieved a scale and empathy that far surpasses his previous machinations without sacrificing the nuanced platforms he has granted actors all along. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: Rodrigo Garcia knew he was making a good movie, but did he really understand the kind of good movie he was making? Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: The film reminds us that character, not plot, is what binds us to a story. Cutting between scenes of each in her unique environment, the movie tantalizes us. Read more

Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: A thoughtful and provocative film about the way we live now. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: It's tough for actors to be nuanced when the movie isn't, and these intriguingly jagged edges soon get smoothed out. Read more

Greg Quill, Toronto Star: That Garcia manages to spin three rich and complex yarns without ever losing hold of the main thread -- the deep and mysterious connections between mothers and daughters -- is evidence of a keen eye and an exceptionally curious mind. Read more

Cath Clarke, Time Out: What keeps the whole thing from toppling into an abyss of unwatchable TV drama histrionics is a pair of dynamite performances from Annette Bening and Naomi Watts. Read more

Keith Uhlich, Time Out: A believably unbalanced Bening scores the movie's true coup: Karen's revitalizing relationship with a sweetly persistent coworker (Jimmy Smits) is a rare example of Hollywood doing right by midlife romance. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Writer/director Rodrigo Garcia has fashioned a clear-eyed look at motherhood at all stages. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: Rodrigo Garcia's reputation as a writer for and director of women will increase exponentially with Mother and Child, an insightfully observed and exceptionally acted ensemble piece precisely about what the title suggests. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: With Mother and Child, Garca brings his finely calibrated sense of drama to the subject of adoption, which he handles with characteristic restraint and insight -- at least until the film's maudlin, too-pat finale. Read more