“Birth,” dir. Jonathan Glazer
Your mom may love Nicole Kidman, but she’ll likely be
put off by her role in this movie — especially if she’s widowed. The
story details a woman (Kidman) mourning her late husband, only to meet a
little boy who claims he’s her husband reincarnated. Aside from the
depressing notion of losing a loved one, the whole plot basically
consists of a disturbing relationship between a middle-aged woman and
the little boy she’s falling in love with. The fact that Kidman nails
her performance here would typically make for great viewing, but on
Mother’s Day it won’t do much besides creeping you and your mother out.
“Black Swan,” dir. Darren Aronofsky
By the time Barbara Hershey asks Natalie Portman, “what happened to my sweet girl” in Darren Aronofsky’s 2010 psychological drama “Black Swan,” you know your own relationship with your mother can’t be too bad. Although a great thriller to watch alone or with a friend, “Black Swan” is a viewing experience not meant to be shared with a parent. The film stars Portman as Nina, a naive and ambitious ballerina who is chosen to lead her company through a production of Swan Lake, but struggles to master the seductive and dark qualities that the role demands. Moreover, Nina is a grown woman living with a mother who force feeds her pink frosting, dresses her and most perhaps most damagingly, has kept her from any sort of sexual or romantic relationship. The relationship is the epitome of toxic and while “Black Swan” is cringe-worthy for loads of reasons, it’s this dynamic that should keep away this Mother’s day.
“Heavenly Creatures,” dir. Peter Jackson
In her first feature film role, Kate
Winslet plays Juliet Hulme, who along with her very close friend Pauline Parker (Melanie Lynskey), conspires to kill Pauline’s mother
when she threatens to end their intense relationship. As directed by
Peter Jackson, “Heavenly Creatures” is part teenage wish-fulfillment
fantasy and entirely a parental nightmare. The image of the two girls
holding blood-covered hands as they skip up a hill after the deadly deed
is chilling — and even more disturbing once you learn the film was
based on a true story. Watching this with mom will surely only
traumatize her — and force her to lock her door at night.
“Monster’s Ball,” dir. Marc Forster
“Monster’s Ball” in a phenomenal film full of powerful performances (including the one that won Halle Berry her Academy Award), but it’s not best suited for a Sunday viewing with mom. In the drama, directed by “World War Z’ director Marc Forster, Berry stars as Leticia, a single mother raising an obese child, whose father is on Death Row. From the outset of the film it’s clear Leticia is a terrible mother (at one point she calls her son a “fat little piggy”), likely due to the cards she’s been dealt with all her life. Following a tragic accident, she finds solace in the arms of Hank (Billy Bob Thornton), who, unbeknownst to her, works as a guard on Death Row. If all that grimness isn’t enough to make you steer clear, then the infamous (and very explicit) sex between Berry and Thornton should do the trick.
“Precious,” dir. Lee Daniels
Perhaps the most heartbreaking movie to be released in 2009, Lee Daniels’ “Precious” achieved critical acclaim for its wonderful performances and its ability to provide an unflinching look at poverty. Precious, a young black woman played by Gabourey Sidibie has her head in the clouds. She has dreams, but most of them are bogged down by her circumstances. Nevertheless, the film is a must-NOT see this Mother’s Day particularly because of the relationship between Precious and her mother Mary, played so brilliantly (and viciously) by Mo’Nique. Mary lounges around all day, blames Precious for her husband’s neglect (even though he raped her ) and physically and psychologically abuses her. She’s an abomination of a mother and human being. It’s definitely a tremendous film and one filled with hope, but not something to share with your mom this holiday.