'Mothers and Daughters': Film Review

Between this and "Mother's Day," it's enough to spoil the holiday.
5/6/2016

Susan Sarandon, Sharon Stone, Christina Ricci and Mira Sovino are among the stars of this drama featuring interconnected stories.

The mothers and daughters in Mothers and Daughters are frequently at odds, and it's no wonder. Communicating almost entirely through video chats, e-mail and text messages, they never get to actually see each other in person. Watching the characters interact in Paul Duddridge's film is like experiencing their interpersonal travails via Facebook.

The sort of movie in which a pregnant single woman is informed by her obstetrician just before she's about to give birth that he's can't perform the procedure because he's in love with her, this drama is the second misfire in as many weeks focused on the theme of motherhood. Like Garry Marshall's Mother's Day, it's not exactly the quality fare with which you want to mark the holiday.

The low-budget production — most of the money seems to have been spent on tech products — has attracted an impressive number of famous faces, including Susan Sarandon, Sharon Stone, Mira Sorvino, Courtney Cox and Christina Ricci. But they and the other talented actresses involved are hamstrung by Paige Cameron's unsubtle script that piles on far too many melodramatic plot contrivances for a 90-minute film.

At first, the story seems to be revolving around Rigby (Selma Blair), whose voiceover narration promises to be a connective thread. But the device is quickly abandoned, with the profusion of barely interconnected characters providing little narrative coherence or emotional depth. Among those figuring in the fractured storyline are Georgina (Sorvino), a designer of a "haute couture bra line" who is contacted by the daughter she gave up for adoption many years earlier; Gayle (Eva Amurri Martino), who reluctantly brings herself to ask her estranged mother (Sarandon, her real-life mom)  for money to finance her husband's dream of opening a pastry shop; Layla (Alexandra Daniels), fighting with her high-powered fashion magazine editor mother (Stone) over career choices; and Becca (Ricci), who receives a life-changing revelation from the woman (Cox) she thought was her sister.

It's all about as heavy-handed as it sounds, with precious little humor or character-revealing insights to relieve it. For a film that's presumably intended to convey the rich emotional rewards of motherhood, Mothers and Daughters is not terribly convincing.

Distributor: Screen Media Films
Production: Siempre Viva Productions, Aloe Entertainment
Cast: Selma Blair, Susan Sarandon, Sharon Stone, Mira Sorvino, Christina Ricci, Courtney Cox, Eva Amurri Martino, Alexandra Daniels
Director: Paul Duddridge
Screenwriter: Paige Cameron
Producers: Amy Williams, Danielle James
Executive producers: Mary Aloe, Daniel Grodnik, Michael Torchia, Terry Chase Chenowith, Sean Glover, Ashanti, Eric Gustavson, Tammy Gustavson
Director of photography: Mikael Levin
Production designer: Shawn Graves
Editors: Vince Filippone, Michael Jablow
Costume designer:  Devon de la Salle, Aqua Risenhoover, Camille Jumelle
Composer: David Hlebo
Casting: John Hubbard, Ros Hubbard

Rated PG-13, 90 minutes

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