• 17 Aug - 23 Aug, 2019
  • Mag The Weekly

The story is set off when three women, who have known each other since their sons were six years old, meet for their annual Mother’s Day brunch and moan about how those sons, now living in New York City, neglect them. They are no longer mothers, they say, but others. They are also a trio of stereotypes. Felicity Huffman plays Helen, who dresses elegantly, takes her loving second husband for granted and refuses to age. Helen doesn’t look silly or plastic-y; she looks like an actress with great hair, makeup and styling. Angela Bassett is Carol, a slightly frumpy, homebody widow. You can see her makeover coming. Like Helen, she has a huge, fabulous house in Poughkeepsie. Patricia Arquette is Gillian, the most down-to-earth of the three. It’s a credit to this dream cast that they don’t sleepwalk through their tired roles, but bring as much energy as they can.

After brunch, the women decide to take a trip to the city to make the boys pay attention. Those boys flew the nest long ago – they are roughly 27 years old now – but the film positions the visit as a cute antic the neglected moms deserve, rather than an intrusion into grown-ups’ lives.

Despite that glossy, aspirational look, Otherhood is definitely not Sex and the City: Moms Edition. The story swerves away from at least one cliché: The women don’t meet desirable men, as the plot stays focused on motherhood and female friendship. The only credible part of those themes, though, comes in the early brunch scene, when the women discuss how great it is that after decades of friendship they don’t have to lie to each other, especially about their ages. Still, without much of an impactful ending, the potential for resonant thematic profundity is left unfulfilled.

It can be a guilt-stream for some.