‘Mother and Child’: A horrible title for an emotional wallop of a film…

If there’s any proof that black people and white people can get along perfectly well in a movie and not have that fact play a central role in said movie, Mother and Child is pretty convincing evidence.

Annette Bening (in another makeup-less, yep-I’m-actually-50-years-old role) stars as a grief-stricken physical therapist who gave up her baby for adoption at 14 years old. Her story interweaves with Naomi Watts’s (in top form) who plays her unbeknownst daughter and with Kerry Washington’s, who plays an infertile woman desperate for a child.

The film is full of quiet surprises, namely from Samuel L. Jackson as Naomi Watt’s boss. It’s the most un-Samuel L. Jackson role that I’ve seen Jackson do and a testament, or I suppose reminder, of  his fine acting chops. While Mother and Child does slip into melodrama and genre gimmicks (preternaturally wise blind teenager, been there, seen that) at some points, it’s quite emotionally affecting. The three lead performances are wonderful and yet another indication of how messed up the Academy is. It  just doesn’t make sense that Washington has never been nominated for an Oscar and Halle Berry has won one. But that’s a story for another day.

Sarah Coleman, contributing to Salon, makes a pretty compelling case against the film’s portrayal of adoptive mothers though. And she has a point.

But if you feel like watching buppies and getting moist-eyed for 2 hours, I recommend it.

Oh, and Shareeka Epps! My homegirl Shareeka Epps is in it!

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