Otherhood Is The Most Buoyant Netflix Feature

Otherhood

Starring  Patricia Arquette, Angela Bassett, Felicity Huffman, Jake Hoffman, Sinqua Walls,  Jake Lacy.

Rating: ****(4 stars)

 To call it a  rom-com would be doing this  ebullient  film a disservice. This coming-of-age comedy-drama  about  three  mothers who feel abandoned  by  their respective  sons and who come to  the severe and sobering awareness that after a point, children don’t need their parents to be around them constantly, is no sob story.

What  could have been a mushy maudlin  my-kids-don’t-love-me ode to abandoned  motherhood  is turned  into a light bubbly  deft and  dishy dramedy with the  correct quotient of cuteness and gravity.

Otherhood is  a smartly packaged  film with some truly empathetic  performances particularly by the still-gorgeous  Angela Bassett whose presence and performance  simply knock the  ball out of the recreational park to give the film a tilt towards something  much more than entertainment. Unfortunately her  troubled relationship with her son (Sinqua Walls) doesn’t have the  same immediacy and  resonance as the other  two mother-son relationships.

Felicity Huffman’s role as  the  mother of a  gay son   displays a rare maturity and vision  in  the  way she handles her son’s sexual orientation and the even strikes up a  heartwarming friendship with her son’s partner while she’s visiting. There is  no big  selfcongratulatory  coming-out sequence. In  fact there is a  fabulous dinnertable sequence where  the gay son(played with refreshing lack affectation  by  Jake Lacy) asks his  mother why gay people  need to announce their orientation when heterosexuals don’t.

My favourite  mother-son relationship in the expertly interwoven tale of three relationships  is between PatriciaArquette and her lately heartbroken son played  by the great Dustin Hoffman’s son Jake Hoffman.With  a personality that renders itself  effectively to  vulnerability  Jake proves himself quite  a chip off the old block.

 The  writing is sharp. The verbal exchanges ripple with  warmth and humour .Very often I  laughed  uproariously as these mothers and their sons sounded like people I’ve known  very closely.

 About  three-quarters into the  film the plot loses its mojo and  it seems the  director doesn’t quite know where all this will end.Never mind .Otherhood has so much to give and so little to  quibble  about. It’s  a film flush with a  fund of cleverness and  joy. There are  no  bad guys and good guys, only real  people in this  abnormally edifying  film  that tells  us why parents need to grow up as they grow older.

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