Set between three different periods in the life of a writer and maid Jane (Odessa Young), “Mothering Sunday” earned positive reviews after it premiered at Cannes in the summer for its depiction of the inter-class romance between Jane and the son of a neighboring family, Paul (Josh O’Connor), as well as grief, loneliness, and sensuality. Sony Pictures Classics, which is releasing the film in the U.S., has debuted the official American trailer below.
Based on Graham Swift’s 2016 novel, “Mothering Sunday” begins on the British Mother’s Day, where maids are given a rare day off. With her employers (Colin Firth and Olivia Colman) out, Jane gets a chance to spend some time with her secret lover, Paul, a romance that must be kept secret due to Paul’s engagement to another woman. The film also flashes forward to later periods in Jane’s life, where she grapples with memorializing her early love on paper, explores other romances, and later enjoys her career as an elderly writer.
In her “B-” review, IndieWire’s Kate Erbland called the film a “dreamy, sexy period drama,” that finds its emotional strength in the all-star cast. “The grand lesson that ‘Mothering Sunday’ teaches, and the one Jane must learn, tragedy after tragedy: None of this, the pleasure or the pain, is ever permanent,” Erbland wrote.
In a recent interview with Picturehouse, Young said it was important for her and O’Connor to “sell” the romance between their characters to the audience.
“I’m of the opinion that they love each other. I don’t know that they’re in love with each other but I think they they care very deeply fro each other. That closeness can only develop over a significant period of time,” she said. “Specifically Josh and I, it was just really easy. He’s a delight to work with and a delightful person in general. He’s really easy to be around.”
The film marks the English-language debut of French director Eva Husson. She began her career as an actress before transitioning to directing; her feature debut “Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)” premiered at TIFF in 2015. Her sophomore effort “Girls of the Sun” premiered at Cannes three years later.
“Mothering Sunday” is written by Alice Birch, the award-winning British playwright whose crossover into film and TV has included the Florence Pugh-starrer “Lady Macbeth” and Hulu’s Emmy-nominated modern Irish romance “Normal People.” She also worked as a story editor on the second season of “Succession.”
O’Connor earned an Emmy for his role as a young Prince Charles on “The Crown” earlier this year. “Mothering Sunday” marks a reunion for O’Connor and Colman, who starred as Queen Elizabeth during the Netflix series’ third and fourth seasons.
Young starred last year opposite Elisabeth Moss in “Shirley” and in the Paramount+ miniseries “The Stand,” based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. She’s set to star as Martha Ratliff in the upcoming HBO Max miniseries “The Staircase,” based on the 2004 docuseries that profiled the trial and conviction of Michael Peterson for murdering his wife. Ratliff is the daughter of Peterson, who will be played by Firth in the miniseries.
Sony Pictures Classics will open “Mothering Sunday” with an Oscar-qualifying run in Los Angeles on November 17. It will hit New York and L.A. theaters beginning February 25, before expanding nationwide in the following weeks.
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