Friday, April 15, 2011

DIFF review MAMAS AND PAPAS- She said

Directed by Alice Nellis
Starring: Zuzana Bydzovska, Zuana Kronerova, Filip Capka, and Ivan Shvedoff

Nowadays, it's pretty standard to want to have a family.  MAMAS AND PAPAS follows four different stories of individuals who are all dealing with children in some sort of way.  There's a couple who must decide between an abortion or a career; a couple who has two kids, gets pregnant, but isn't sure they can financially afford another baby; a couple trying everything to conceive; and a fertility doctor who suffers the unimaginable, losing her only daughter.

The stories all intertwined and given equal footing.  It would have been easy to focus on the mother losing her daughter because that's considered the most compelling (and it is); however, director Alice Nellis cares about all her characters so much that we're given a view of the ins and outs as each deal with their situations.  Each character is dynamic and just real.  Even ones that are more unlikable, like the husband who is frustrated with his wife and her obsessiveness to become a parent, we can understand their motivations and actions.  The stories themselves are universal in nature, so the movie could lend itself to a wider audience. 

However, a frustrating aspect was none of the stories came to a definite conclusion.  We're almost left with more questions than answers about characters and their fates.  Once each character makes his or her decision, a whole new world for them opens up.  For the mother, it's retreating to a friend's house on the coast and taking up scuba diving.  She slowly learns to live again and being vulnerable with others. For the couple trying to conceive, it's letting go of the fact they probably can't and being open to adoption.  There's a wonderful scene with them filling out the paperwork and having to decide if they care about race or medical problems with the baby.  There's such truth in their conversation that many of us have never considered if we've never been through the process. 

 It's a very slice-of-life look at being or becoming parents with both the highs and the lows.  What sells the movie is the rawness the all the actors bring to their characters.  Nothing is forced or fake.  In the end, MAMAS AND PAPAS is a solid and intimate film. 

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