Good As It Gets

I’ve just come from the first TIFF screening of Rodrigo Garcia‘s Mother and Child, and if someone picks it up and puts it into NY and LA theatres before 12.31, it’s a Best Picture contender. Because sophisticated filmgoers of a certain age are going to cream over this. All right, don’t trust me…I don’t care. I know what I know and I go to sleep with that every night.

This is a great woman’s film except it isn’t, not really, because it got to me big-time and I generally don’t fall for films aimed at the opposite genre market so go figure. It’s so good and so exactingly and humanistically right that a fair-sized portion of the Julie and Julia audience may reject it because it’s not coarse or common enough.

On top of this Annette Bening, who gives what I feel is possibly the best performance of her life in this film, will be a Best Actress contender.

I know what Mother and Child is and I’m not going all breathless and gah-gah because that’s what some critics do when they see a new film at a film festival. For what it is — a super-sensitive, perfectly acted and exquisitely written adult drama about (the title kind of indicates this) mothers and daughters and parenting and re-establishing connections, Mother and Child is really and truly as good as this sort of thing gets. It’s got Fox Searchlight or Focus Features written all over it.

That’s all I have time to say right now. I’m at an IFC dinner party and I’m tapping this out on a bar and I don’t want be rude to my hosts.

52 thoughts on “Good As It Gets

  1. raygo on said:

    Bening can face off with Hillary Swank again for the Oscar. That’ll be fun.

  2. “I know what I know and I go to sleep with that every night.”

    I love this line so much and I can’t really describe why.

  3. Wow, Jeff…I had written this off as a sure-bet also-ran for the fall fest circuit given Garcia’s ham-fisted attempts at theatrical directing thus far (“Passengers” was horribly guided; even “Nine Lives” carried the air of a Lifetime movie-of-the-week despite its cast of strong ladies), the weepy on-the-nose title “Mother and Child,” and the cast of proven greats all of whom have tripped into disastrous projects due to lack of foresight (Bening in “Running with Scissors,” Watts in “Le Divorce,” Washington in “Fantastic Four,” etc.).

    You’re the last person I’d ever expect to step up as an advocate for “Mother and Child,” which makes everything you’ve said here remarkably believable.

  4. Yes, Daniel, the rest of us read MCN too.

    And you still managed to miss the story of the day: Dalton is Dead (while ironically linking to a story about the RED DAWN remake no less)

  5. ” I generally don’t fall for films aimed at the opposite genre”.

    In many ways this typo absolutely makes the article for me. The battle of the sexes summarised through the power of storytelling genres.

  6. love your column Jeff. Always check it in with it. Others are bland in comparison to you. But why do you refer to this film as a Woman’s film simply because the central characters are female? Does that preclude it having universal appeal? Do you have an insight into what a fundamentally patronising attitude that is?

  7. Fantastic news! I’m a huge Rodrigo Garcia fan. His multi-character plots in Nine Stories, Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her and In Treatment always interest me.

    So it is a shame about the presence of Annette Bening. It’s her face – her pretty, pert and snarling self-satisfaction is a total turn off. She’s someone I just can’t bare to watch in anything, including The Grifters.

  8. Christ, why doesnt DZ just email jeff links directly? it is so annoying to be into the post and subsequent thread only to see
    Ford indirectly admits the script for Indy 4 sucked.
    http://movies.yahoo.com/feature/access-hollywood-indiana-jones-5.html
    The Bruce-ster returns for Spidey 4.
    http://www.darkhorizons.com/news/15144/campbell-on-spidey-4-ford-on-indy-5
    Watchmen’s Joker is in Red Dawn 2.0.
    http://www.darkhorizons.com/news/15139/morgan-joins-red-dawn-remake
    R.I.P. Norma Rae.
    http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/norma-rae-dead-68-after-two-year-stru
    Roger returns for more Silent Hill.

    NON-SEQUITUR BULLSHIT

  9. love your column Jeff. Always check it in with it. Others are bland in comparison to you. But why do you refer to this film as a Woman’s film simply because the central characters are female? Does that preclude it having universal appeal?

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  10. Wow, Jeff…I had written this off as a sure-bet also-ran for the fall fest circuit given Garcia’s ham-fisted attempts at theatrical directing thus far (“Passengers” was horribly guided

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