Movie Mom

This is one of those insufferable movies where three bundles of quirk and backstory intended to approximate characters are thrown together because of some writer’s fantasy. The writer may hope that he can show them learning something from each other or meaning something to each other but the real fantasy is that just putting it all on screen together will make it into something worth watching. It isn’t.

And by the way, the idea that by giving your characters quotations by great writers as dialogue will make them seem smart is a fantasy, too. And so is the idea that grandeloquence in Southern accents transforms trashy behavior and tired formulas into something grand and gothic. If you’re going to Faulkner-ize squalor, you’ve got to write better than this.

This film is fundamentally misconceived. If it had a sense of humor about itself, it might have found some energy and spirit, but its inflated view of its own insights and its essential phoniness make it a long slog to the unsurprising surprise ending.

Pursy (Scarlett Johannson) finds out belatedly from her trailer park boyfriend that her mother has died. By the time she arrives, the funeral is over. Two hard-drinking, literature-loving men tell her that her mother left her house to the three of them, because she wanted them to live together.

Pursy moves in. Will she find a way to forgive her mother for abandoning her? Will she find resources in herself that she could never have imagined? Will she discover that those two lushes have deeply poetic souls and loving hearts? Will there be important revelations about Mom and…Dad? You betcha. Will we care about any of it? Not so much.

Parents should know that the movie has extremely strong language and explicit sexual references. Characters smoke and abuse alcohol.

Families who see this movie should talk about what drew the characters to each other and the ways that people try to create families for themselves.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Crimes of the Heart and Miss Firecracker.

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