Royal cast highlights Mothering Sunday

Updated: Apr 15

Ears prick up when hearing the cast combination in Mothering Sunday: Colin Firth, Olivia Colman, and with a screen return after thirty years, Glenda Jackson. However, the three serve primarily as a marketing tool for theatrical release of a film that oozes the elegant sensibilities of an arty period drama. The royal trio of Oscar-winning performers serve mostly as window dressing with small, unchallenging roles they handle with expected aplomb. The story centerpiece goes to Odessa Young as Jane, an orphan whose advancement covers three different stages in her life. The most formative incident happens in 1924 on Mothers’ Day—known in England as Mothering Sunday--when Jane works as a maid whose open outlook on life presages an impressive future. Based on a respected novella by Graham Swift, the movie Mothering Sunday exudes literary qualities as Jane displays a fascination with books and insights that go beyond her station in life. Among her forward -thinking actions, an affair with a neighboring member of the upper class avoids the usual pitfalls of power and status. The affair teams actress Young with Josh O’Connor, recognizable from his Emmy-winning turn as Charles in The Crown. Neither Young nor O’Connor boasts the years and track record of the movie’s big name stars, but both more than hold their own in naturalistic performances. Their love scenes play into director Eva Husson’s skill in conveying the sensuality of movement and looks. Lingering shots on textures, fabrics, skin, and faces provide a woman’s sense of sex as rich and pleasurable rather than quick and meaningless. Full frontal nudity puts the movie in the R category without any lurid exploitation. For all its sensuality, Mothering Sunday often comes across with the same inertness as its stiff, upper crust characters. Minimal action and pacing that adds a few extra “o’”s in the word slo-o-ow put the movie’s appeal squarely in the artistic realm of beautiful visuals that lack major narrative.

Full frontal nudity puts the movie in the R category without any lurid exploitation. For all its sensuality, Mothering Day often comes across with the same inertness as its stiff, upper crust characters. Minimal action and pacing that adds a few extra “o’”s in the word slo-o-ow put the movie’s appeal squarely in the artistic realm of beautiful visuals that lack major narrative.

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