Mother and Child

Out Now On-Demand

Three women's lives share a common core in this drama: they have all been profoundly affected by adoption. Karen (Annette Bening) placed a baby for adoption at age 14 and has been haunted ever since by the daughter she never knew. Elizabeth (Naomi Watts) grew up as an adopted child; she's a bright and ambitious lawyer, but a flinty loner in her personal life. Lucy (Kerry Washington) is just embarking with her husband on the adoption odyssey, hoping for the opportunity to become parents


Directed by

Written by



Rating: M sex scenes & offensive language

USA, Spain

Official Site

So it turns out that the adoption process is one fraught with heartbreak and despair. I doubt this will surprise anyone, but whatever this film loses in said obviousness, it makes up for with a clutch of terrific performances.

Unsurprisingly, for a film executive produced by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel), the narrative is woven together from three separate stories with a common thematic bond. You can see the intersections of the storylines coming from a long way off, but they do provide three different perspectives on the mother-child bond, providing depth to the topic.  Some of the film’s voiceover is a touch schmaltzy, though.

Within this framework, the cast sparkle. Annette Bening, in particular, is truly impressive, Naomi Watts is as good as she’s ever been and Samuel L. Jackson does well in a role that casts him as much older and less macho than is the norm.

The direction is wisely unflashy, focusing on the actors instead of visual flair. Whilst this results in a movie that won’t blow you away, it does provide some moments of genuine emotion and pathos, be you a man or woman, parent or childless.

Chicago Sun-Times (Roger Ebert)


The film is founded on three performances by Annette Bening, Kerry Washington and Naomi Watts. All have rarely been better.

Christchurch Press (James Croot)


One moment of young lust has had a profound effect on many lives. Thirty-seven years after Karen (Annette Bening), then a 14-year-old, was forced to give up her baby, she is a lost soul.

Hollywood Reporter


Some may find the film overly schematic, but Garcia smartly uses three parallel narratives to probe the extraordinary nature of motherhood.

New York Times


You may not quite trust Mother and Child -- its soft spots and fuzzy edges give it away -- but you can believe just about everyone in it.

Rolling Stone (USA)


In Mother and Child, he (Rodrigo Garcia) creates an emotional powerhouse.

Variety (USA)


An insightfully observed and exceptionally acted ensemble piece precisely about what the title suggests.



Go see it if...

you are a mother, have a daughter, like great acting. It didn't drag for me, esp as it jumps over a whole lot of bits that could've been dragged out (lead character falling in love at last) etc. I thought it was a little manipulated and realised what was going to happen half way through (when normally I am really dumb about predicting stuff) however it was OK and I enjoyed this movie.

It just went on and on and on

Longest two hours of the month!