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Categories: film reviews/ reviews/ writing

 
 

Title: ‘night Mother
Year: 1986
IMDb listing

Director: Tom Moore
Based on a play by Marsha Norman
Stars: Sissy Spacek, Anne Bancroft


What a sad, sad film. I mean it in the best possible way though, if there’s one sad film you should see and be happy about seeing something so sad, then ‘night, Mother is it. I knew that Sissy Spacek was an incredible actor already, so when I read about this film and what makes it so unique I was eager to see what it had to offer in regards to the actual experience.


The first time I saw this, I admittedly did not give it my full attention. I was doing some other things at the time. As the film progressed and then ended, I knew I had to set this one aside and give it a proper viewing.

I have always loved those films where there are just two actors in a room. It’s kind of rare to come across such a film but there are some out there and they don’t disappoint. One that comes to mind is The Sunset Limited, which also happens to be a movie with heavy subject matter. ‘night, Mother on the other hand offers one of the most raw, uncompromising and devastating examples of emotional storytelling I’ve ever seen. They just don’t make movies like this anymore. Can you imagine such a film emerging in 2014 with this much honesty? In a way, I can almost say this movie respects the viewer so much to not pander to the need to be safe. This is not a safe film by any means. This film places the onus on you, the viewer, to responsibly digest what it delivers.

By now you’re probably wondering what it is about this film I’m referring to, unless you’ve seen it or looked at the listing link at the beginning. I’ll post what I see to be the key aspect of the storyline from IMDb here anyway, just to ensure we’re on the same page:

What would you do if someone you loved sat down with you one night and calmly told you that they were going to end their life before morning? This is Thelma Cates’ dilemma. Her daughter, Jessie, has had it.

The IMDb page goes into a little more detail but I think knowing it beforehand is irrelevant. All will be revealed in the film in due time and it’s great to learn about it as you watch. I’m not going to go into any technical commentary about how the film was made, the angles, the colour or whatever. What I will say is that I was reached on a deep level with the poignant dialogue. I felt, and I think anyone else who can be honest for those 90 minutes, will feel too. This is one I will revisit from time to time. Not because of any inner turmoil, but because it’s one of those films that remind you of certain things in life, certain emotions that somehow seem like they shouldn’t be forgotten. Feelings one should never forget how to feel.



Note: I discovered that a somewhat recent performance of ‘night, Mother was done in a theatre somewhere. Edie Falco plays Jessie Cates and Brenda Blethyn plays Thelma. I would love to see it!