Tag Archives: mothers

(Reality) Check Please! – A Movie Review

Image credit: indiewire.com

Image credit: indiewire.com

Where’s Madea when you need her?

I read somewhere that Tyler Perry does not allow his films to be previewed. But for “The Single Moms Club”, it would have been too late anyway.

What he really should have done, as my sister-in-law said, was to confer with mothers like us and obtain the reality check that this film needed. Because the spirit of the no-nonsense cantankerous female character that Perry sometimes plays, was sorely needed here to knock some sense into a few of the characters.

I don’t want to make this a black/white thing here, and I realize that Perry is trying to broaden his audience, but being a single mother of any persuasion is no excuse. That being said, some of the behaviours that some of the children in this movie were allowed to get away with had me saying, “Child, please!”

Which mother do you know – single or not – who’s going to have her child tell her that she (the mother) is ruining her life? When all she’s trying to do is provide those clothes she’s wearing and the food she’s obviously eating. I know a kid needs love and attention too – but that’s beside the point.

I’ve seen kids slam doors on parents before – but only in the movies – because that thought would not have ever crossed my mind when I was younger. Slam whose door? In whose house? Anyway, Perry uses this to demonstrate the child’s frustration, but I waited in vain to see how Nia Long’s character, May, acted the fool on her son’s behind. A sigh of exasperation is all I got.

And when he leaves the babysitter’s house, (as we later learn because he received a phone call from his father), without telling anybody, then comes back home the next day, walking into the house like he’s the one paying the bills, we’re supposed to believe that his mother’s tears aren’t quickly replaced by her resolve to make sure that he didn’t lose the care of his brain ever again.

I don’t know how Tyler Perry’s character (TK), wasn’t seeing a different side of her as he attempted to peel her off her son as he tried to save the boy’s life. But when we see her waiting for the son while he waits for hours for his father to show up only to be disappointed again, and we realize that she does this every time – it’s no wonder he thinks that he can talk to her any way he likes.

Thankfully, Lytia, the character played by Cocoa Brown is a truer representation of the kind of parent who was your mother and not your friend, but as my viewing partner said, her son still had way too much sass for someone whose mother swore that “standing on his neck” was a sure way to bring a disobedient child in line.

The ‘Hillary’ character played by Amy Smart, was a complete waste of time. She was newly divorced, but it didn’t appear to me that she worked anywhere, so even with three children how is it that she was so unaware about the milestones that were taking place in her older daughter’s life? With the way she was going, she was likely to miss her baby’s first words and steps before she realized that the damsel in distress thing is just not going to work when you have some kids to mind.

Terry Crews’ character provided much needed comic relief, but maybe I’m still seeing “White Chicks” in the rearview mirror. He, along with four other guys in the movie ensure that these single moms all get their guys in the end. Although I can already see that some of them ain’t gonna last.

I like the fact that Tyler Perry attempted to get a diverse crew of women for this movie because we don’t all have to be from the same social groups and walks of life to be friends. But I’m not sure what May really wrote about in her book, because the social situations seemed a bit forced to me. But I’m nitpicking.

We’ve become accustomed to the social commentary in Perry movies, and this one was no exception. From welfare mothers to the drug culture to crime to workaholic mothers to irresponsible parenting to wanting more for your children than you had for yourself – it ran the gamut.

Hillary’s daughter tells her own mother that she doesn’t really know her and decides that it was time that they introduced themselves. And Lytia’s son tells her that she should trust that later in life he will remember what she will probably be telling him for years to come. Which is all that I can hope for my children too.

Some have complained that Perry tends to hit you over the head with his messages, so this time, a little child will lead you to them.

Maternal Instincts – Movie Review

Image credit: hollywoodreporter.com

Image credit: hollywoodreporter.com

I’ve said before that the two occasions on which the main players look their best – at weddings and funerals – are the same occasions when the rest of us can look our worst. I guess there’s something about celebrating the beginning of a new life that a marriage is, or the ending of another through death, that causes some of us to act out.

That’s one of the impressions that I was left with after viewing the movie, “August: Osage County”. Secrets are uncovered, plain speech is discovered, and a daughter takes her mother down as she attempts to find the pills that she’s convinced are the cause of her mother’s mean-spiritedness. So no, it’s not the feel-good movie of the year.

The family members gather to attend the funeral of a man who committed suicide, it seems, because his life had become unbearable. Living with a wife who was suffering from mouth cancer but who still insisted on having her smokes, one wonders if her strong mouth and caustic speech was what drove him to take his life, because something else had already driven him to drink.

The three mothers in this film wouldn’t exactly be called nurturing, but that’s probably because each had her own demons to contend with.

The widow, thought that it was the perfect opportunity to tell her daughter that she broke her father’s heart when she moved away from home. But while she pushed the father out front, it was obvious that the daughter never showing up to give support to her, was only one of many hurts.

The widow’s sister-in-law considered her only son a disappointment to her and all concerned, but it was likely that since she’d been dancing with guilt for years concerning his paternity, she never really saw her son – only her mistake.

And the widow’s daughter, who was herself the mother of a teenaged girl, seemed unwilling to take any of the responsibility for the fact that her child was well on her way to disregarding her own mother, and continuing the cycle of blame.

The end of someone’s life causes most of us to reflect on our own lives, and the characters in this movie probably did this in spades – and none of them was happy with what they were seeing.

Unfortunately, when our lives that generally hold so much promise at the beginning, show no such sign of it at the end, we would probably agree with the main protagonist when she says, “Thank God we can’t tell the future – we’d never get out of bed”.

A Tale of Two Mothers

I heard of a mother, who, when told that her son did not romantically favour the fairer sex, but preferred his own gender, said, “What else can I do but love him?”

That mother’s comment is one of the most beautiful sentiments I have ever heard, but I’ve always known that no matter who our children turn out to be, we will still love them, even though sometimes, we may not like them, or what they do.

That’s why, when a teenage daughter learns too early about the responsibilities of raising a child, her mother turns around and helps in the child-rearing, and spoils the grandchild, to boot.

That’s why a mother will peel off some of her emergency dollars to pay off a debt or obligation for a child less adept at saving.

That’s why a mother will take up for her child and have no one say a bad word against him or her when others, or even the courts, say otherwise.

That’s why, when a child seems to go astray, the mother sees her child first and who he is or what he has become, after.

So perhaps that’s why some people see the mothers as condoning or encouraging bad behaviour when they appear to stand behind or beside their children. But l’d like to think this is the stance she takes after she has said her piece, and that what we see is the united front and the brave face. Because some mothers have tried their best, but for some children this wasn’t good enough.

Some mothers on the other hand, blame the children for their own circumstances, even though we know that they weren’t the ones asking to come here.

My mother-in-law, who used to be a midwife, told me the story of a mother who had two children with different fathers. One child, a girl, was always bathed and well dressed. The other, a boy, was unwashed and unkempt – and dare I say, unloved.

When the mother was asked about the difference in appearance of her two children, the mother replied that the boy’s father was in jail. Back then, on the island where I live, nurses were assigned to districts. On one of her visits, my mother-in-law enlisted the help of the woman’s neighbours in ensuring that the mother took better care of the child.

Many years later, she was met by the mother who told her that now in her old age, the only one of her children who looked after her was that son who she had initially rejected.

I guess love goes both ways.