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Screen Moms; Best Movies to Stream on Mother’s Day

admin   May 9, 2020

By Saibal Chatterjee

Wildly differing in sum and substance, these ten titles are drawn from a range of genres – from cinematic masterpieces to fluffy entertainers. Watch them with an open where necessary, and enjoy the star turns when the theme appears to be bordering on the stale. Almodovar and Cuaron deliver masterclasses, Shonali Bose crafts a bright-eyed tearjerker, and the likes of Susan Sarandon and Jennifer Aniston add life to less than satisfactory fare. The idea is to celebrate motherhood no matter what. You can stream it right now.

Otherhood (Netflix)

Sex and the City and Modern Family writer Cindy Chupack’s directorial debut, Otherhood, is a comedy about three suburban women, feeling left out on Mother’s Day, decide to call on their adult sons in New York City unannounced. Complications ensue. The 2019 film hasn’t garnered great reviews but can be watched for the performances of the three leads – Patrician Arquette, Angela Bassett and Felicity Huffman.

Mother’s Day (Netflix)

Director Garry Marshall’s last film, Mother’s Day is a 2016 dramedy about a bunch of Atlanta moms, led by Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Julia Roberts, dealing with a host of issues related to their offspring. Again, like Otherhood, Mother’s Day isn’t the greatest movie you will ever see, but you can watch it nonetheless for the sprightly cast that does its best to liven up the proceedings.

Roma (Netflix)

An arthouse classic that deserves to be more widely seen than it has thus far been, Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma focuses on a soft-spoken woman, Cleo, who works as a surrogate mother to three children of a middle-class Mexican family while coping with an unwanted pregnancy of her own. It is the director’s fond remembrance of the housekeeper who raised him. Deliberately paced, masterfully shot and edited, Roma is an exceptional film. 

All About My Mother (Disney+Hotstar)

This 1999 Oscar-winning masterpiece from Pedro Almodovar goes beyond being a film about a mother. It is about the meaning of motherhood itself. A nurse loses the teenage son she raised on her own. The distraught woman travels to Barcelona to look for the boy’s lost-lost father. Her maternal instincts are re-aroused as she forges deep ties with a pregnant, HIV-positive nun, a popular stage actress and a transgender sex-worker. A film awash with beauty and compassion.

Mothers and Daughters (Netflix)

Jointly directed by Paul Duddridge and Nigel Levy, this 2016 film examines the relationships between several mother and daughters. A filmmaker (Selma Blair) captures the ties on film eve as she tries to mend fences with her own estranged mother. The film’s ensemble cast is led by Susan Sarandon and includes her real-life daughter Eva Amurri, besides Christina Ricci, Mira Sorvino, Courtney Cox and Sharon Stone.

Freaky Friday (Disney+Hotstar)

Starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan, Freaky Friday is a body-switch fantasy comedy in which a woman and her daughter assume each other’s personalities. Anna is peeved that her mom does not support her musical aspiration; the mother, a widow about to remarry, is upset that the girl cannot stand her fiancé. When the freaky exchange happens, well, there is bedlam.

The Sky is Pink (Netflix)

Not so much about a mother as a whole family, Shonali Bose’s is rumination on death and the process of coming to terms with it, delivered in a style that embraces a zest for life and positivity. Priyanka Chopra Jonas brings star power to the true story of a girl with a terminal illness and the determination of her parents to make the last days of her life as pleasurable as possible. Sensitive and poignant but entertaining. 

Private Life (Netflix)

This is the odd one out on this list: Private Life (2018) is the story of a woman who wants to be a mother but is running out of time. Oscar-nominated director Tamara Jenkins teams up with actors Paul Giamatti, Kathryn Hahn and Kayli Carter to deliver a tender tale of a couple in their 40s desperately trying to be parents. The film is a humorous exploration of marriage, intimacy and a desire for motherhood. Watchable all the way.

Lion (Netflix)     

The beginning is harrowing. A five-year-old boy is separated from his family and ends up on the streets of Kolkata. The climax is heartbreaking. Twenty-five years later, the protagonist, now an adoptive son of an Australian couple, goes back in search of his biological mother, Lion, directed by debutant Garth Davis, spins a true tale that is emotionally uplifting and wonderfully well-acted by a cast that includes Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara and David Wenham.

Mom (Netflix)

A crime drama on Mother’s Day? Well Mom, starring Sridevi, is worth a shot. It tells the story a mother who will stop at nothing to avenge the rape of her step daughter, a girl with whom her relationship has been choppy. Bolstered by a strong central performance, this is a gut-wrenching film that employs the tropes of a revenge saga to address questions surrounding safety of women and distortions in law enforcement. 


Toronto International Film Festival: All Set for a Gala Show

admin   September 2, 2018

The Toronto International Film Festival 2018 takes off at a bright note with the best lineups – auteur and films that would be the centre of attraction at Oscars – Damien Chazelle’s First Man, Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk and Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born.

On the heels of their six-time Academy Award-winning smash, La La Land, Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures’ First Man, the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969. A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost of one of the most dangerous missions in history.

Director Barry Jenkin’s If Beale Street Could Talk is an ambitious follow-up to Moonlight adapts James Baldwin’s poignant novel about a woman fighting to free her falsely accused husband from prison before the birth of their child.

Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut A Star is Born tells the story of a seasoned musician who discovers — and falls in love with — a struggling artist. But, even as her career takes off, he fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.

Roma, Director: Alfonso Cuaron

For the first time, Toronto will begin with the debut of a Netflix’s small screen film Outlaw King by David Mackenzie for a big gala opener.

In total, TIFF will be screening streaming gaint Netflix’s eight features, among them Alfonso Cuarón’s ROMA and Paul Greengrass’s 22 July. While Roma is  the new semi-autobiographical film from Academy Award-winning director Cuarón, Paul Greengrass’s film recounts the true story of the aftermath of Norway’s deadliest terrorist attack on July 22, 2011, when 77 people were killed in a far-right extremist bomb attack in Oslo.

TIFF will close with “Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy,” Justin Kelly’s true-life drama.

The fest will be screening the most anticipated films directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, Olivier Assayas, Claire Denis, Amma Asante and Hong Sang-soo, among others.

In tune with times, TIFF 2018 will also feature women centric films – Nicole Kidman in Destroyer, Patricia Clarkson in Out of Blue and Lady Gaga in A Star is Born.

The 43rd edition of the fest will also feature the Felix van Groeningen’s “Beautiful Boy”,  Xavier Dolan’s “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan” and Steve McQueen’s star-studded thriller “Widows”.

TIFF’s lineup for the 2018 Masters programme, comprises 11 daring new films by acclaimed, established auteurs with remarkable bodies of work. With projects that reflect on history, focus on personal introspection, and take a critical look at society, this year’s programme proves that innovation in storytelling is not exclusive to newer generations of filmmakers.

Outlaw King, Director: David Mackenzie

Included in the 2018 Masters lineup are new works by three acclaimed European directors that unwaveringly address contemporary adversities: the debut of the single-installment version of Italian maestro Paolo Sorrentino’s corrosive comedy, Loro, which stars Toni Servillo as infamous politician Silvio Berlusconi; legendary French-Swiss auteur Jean-Luc Godard’s The Image Book, winner of the inaugural 2018 Special Palme d’Or at Cannes; and German director Christian Petzold’s daring Transit, an adaptation of Anna Seghers’ World War II novel set in an era resembling the present day, which offers subtle and timely reflections on rootlessness and exile.

Chinese pioneer Jia Zhang-ke will introduce his largest production to date, Ash Is Purest White, a look at the rapid evolution of Chinese capitalist society explored through the romance between two mismatched people, while veteran Japanese director Shinya Tsukamoto will present Killing, an ambitious samurai genre film set in mid-19th century Japan.

TIFF has selected 46 breakout films from 50 international storytellers as part of its 2018 Discovery lineup, marking a record year for the programme. Hailing from 37 different countries, these promising new filmmakers present works that explore identity, complex portraits of women, and the youth as they struggle to navigate a fragile world.