MOVIES FOR MOM
I REMEMBER MAMA (1948). Irene Dunne, Barbara Bel Geddes. It’s an oldie, but it captures the essence of motherhood – nurturing, caring, self-sacrificing. Ms. Dunne portrays the matriarch of a Norwegian immigrant family struggling with life’s problems. A great film. You’ll need Kleenex!
BABETTE’S FEAST (1987). Winner of that year’s Best Foreign Film Oscar and based on a short story by Isak Dinessen, it concerns two sisters in a small Danish town who take in a homeless woman as their servant. More like viewing a fine old painting or enjoying a sumptuous meal, it is a remarkable example that American filmmakers could take a lesson from.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1946). This French version of the classic tale is a masterpiece. I think you ladies will find it romantic, if you don’t mind subtitles. Stars Jean Marais and directed by renowned French director Jean Cocteau.
SARAH PLAIN AND TALL (1991). Glenn Close and Christopher Walken star in this Hallmark Hall of Fame made-for-TV movie about a woman in the 1880s who answers an ad to share a life on a Kansas farm. Superb.
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY (1995). Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant. PG (no profanity, no sexual situations, no violence–just great storytelling). An engrossing screenplay by the film’s star, Emma Thompson, from the Jane Austen romance novel about two sisters discovering the joys and tribulations of young love. Set in prim and proper 18th-century England, the beautifully photographed and splendidly acted melodrama is full of humor, wit, and passion.
SOUNDER (1972). A stirring story of a black sharecropper’s family during the Depression. Nominated for Best Picture that year, with a standout performance by Cicely Tyson.
THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL (1985). Geraldine Page. Simple but well-told story of a discontented widow who decides to make a last pilgrimage to her childhood home. Page won Best Actress for her wonderfully textured performance. The beautiful rendition of “Softly and Tenderly” by Christian performer Cynthia Clawson is worth the rental price. PG (contains a couple of expletives).
ENCHANTED APRIL (1992). Joan Plowright, Polly Walker. A delightful fable about four women in the 1920s escaping their repressed lifestyles in London by renting a castle in Portofino. They soon discover the estate has a magical effect on all who stay there. Witty dialogue, dreamy cinematography, and savory performances. At last, a PG film with no sexual activity, profane language, violence, or religion-bashing. A romantic comedy that nourishes the spirit.
ENCHANTED COTTAGE (1945). Robert Young, Dorothy McGuire. Lovely fantasy about a scarred war vet and a homely woman, both made beautiful by their love. Moves slowly, but a very romantic film with a gratifying ending.
MISS POTTER (2008). Renee Zellweger is witty, touching and erudite in this sharply written PG-rated tale of writer Beatrix Potter. Ms. Zellweger plays an independent woman in an era when that outlook was shunned. What’s more, she radiates joy as a woman who discovers selfrespect and one who lives to see her work appreciated. On top of that, MISS POTTER was the most romantic film of 2006. (Have hankies on hand – one for you, and yes, one for him.)
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (2005). Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Matthew Macfadyen. The classic tale of love and misunderstanding unfolds in class-conscious England near the close of the 18th century. The five Bennet sisters with the aid of their worrisome mother are seeking husbands and securing the family’s future. Fueled by detailed direction, pumped by satisfying performances, energized by fluid and sultry cinematography, and textured by Jane Austen’s ability to infuse humor into what would merely be melodrama in the hands of other authors, this newest adaptation is elegant, gentile and lovely.
THE YOUNG VICTORIA (2009). Emily Blunt (THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA) delivers an incredibly appealing performance as Queen Victoria in the turbulent first years of her reign. Rupert Friend (PRIDE & PREJUDICE) portrays Prince Albert, the suitor who wins her heart and becomes her partner in one of history’s greatest romances. This love story, set amongst all the intrigue of the court, also features Paul Bettany (IRON MAN, THE DA VINCI CODE), Miranda Richardson (HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE), Jim Broadbent (THE DAMNED UNITED, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA). PG (the queen’s life is threatened twice by assassins; a man is wounded by an attempted assassination; blood on a shirt from a gunshot wound; honeymooners cavorting, but the scenes are handled with discretion and reflect the beauty of a married couple delighting in one another; some drinking by members of the court).