Mia Madre

Margherita, a director in the middle of an existential crisis, has to deal with the inevitable and still unacceptable loss of her mother.

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  • ★★★½ review by davidehrlich on Letterboxd

    maybe my favorite Moretti since THE SON'S ROOM? it's not just the work / life balance that this film gets so right, but also — and more crucially — how you can never master your own life to the point where a personal hardship can't make you feel like an utter amateur. and when you feel like an amateur to begin with... well, this one hit home.

    and John Turturro is very silly.

  • ★★★½ review by Jonathan White on Letterboxd

    TIFF 2015 - Film # 11

    Reason for pick - director of We Have a Pope, The Sons Room

    There was something that Italian director Nanni Moretti captured that resonated with me. His semi-autobiographical film deals with a director who is shooting a film while her mother is dying.

    Both my parents passed away decades ago, and for those of you who have already gone through this experience, this cycle of life, will probably agree that the experience is somewhat surreal. The surreal quality acts as an insulator that keeps grief and sadness at bay. For me, it manifested in a 'waking dream' like state where you perform your everyday functions, but you keep thinking thoughts of what you have to do over and over. 'Did I talk to the doctor about this? .. Did I talk to the bank about that? .. Have I contacted all of our relatives .. all of her friends? Fitful is a good description.

    I remember working, and facing work challenges where I simply wanted to shout 'Don't you know what I'm going through!', but secretly was grateful for the petty distraction. This petty distraction is served up by John Turturro, and his portrayal of the director's star, Barry Huggins, the stereotypically self absorbed, egotistical, actor that may have been A list at one point, but now is clearly on the decline.

    What makes My Mother special, though, is that a character like Turturro's, who was clearly there to serve a single purpose, isn't just abandoned or thrown under the bus. There is some gentle humanization that Moretti expertly weaves into the emotional state of our protagonist, fictional director Margherita, played with strength and fragility by Margherita Buy.

    Not without issues ... a 20 minute haircut could serve the film, My Mother has heart, but not heart worn on a sleeve. It's the best representation I've ever seen about the internal conflicts and emotions felt at a point in life that we all have faced, or will face.

  • ★★★★ review by Gabriele Capolino on Letterboxd

    It hurts, hurts so bad. Watching this with my mom didn't help. I wept.

    Moretti: you killed me.

  • ★★★½ review by Steven Sheehan on Letterboxd

    Despite being a very personal film for Moretti, effectively looking back at the filming of his last film We Have A Pope where his mother passed away, he still manages to take an objective stance, muting what could have been a sweeping emotional recollection. Although the director did use some of his mother's own clothes to dress the actress playing the sick mother, so there was some exercising of ghosts going on during the filming process.

    john Turturro's egotistical thespian threatens to steal the show but Moretti uses him sparingly to lighten the mood where needed. There is nice scene in the final act that adds some humanity to his Barry Huggins character, levelling out what we had seen from up until that point. You never lose sight that this is Margherita Buy's film, subtly displaying her inner turmoil, the lineage of grandmother, daughter and granddaughter seen through each other.

    You would assume Margherita's character represents Moretti's own experience and perhaps the director himself, playing brother Giovanni (Moretti's first name), is the emotional key to how he truly felt at the time. Giovanni quits what you presume is a well paid job in his fifties and although always there by his mothers side, he finds it hard to keep the wheels turning as his sister does.

    What the film really succeeds at is showing how life refuses to wait patiently during the tougher moments we have to face. How resourceful we have to be when dark clouds are all we can see but also how we can surprise ourselves at the same time. Self doubt is something Margherita (and presumably Moretti) tries to batten down daily and it are these small examinations that layer this film in unexpected ways.

  • ★★★★ review by Renato Silveira on Letterboxd

    Moretti transita entre a comédia e o drama da mesma forma como sua protagonista sai do sonho para a realidade e vice-versa. Filme devastador nas emoções que busca do espectador, indo a locais muito delicados e de imagens fortes que podemos já ter visto ou que nunca gostaríamos de ver, mas que ele filma com a sensibilidade necessária. Ao mesmo tempo, é uma reflexão sobre a relação do artista com seu ofício e sua vida pessoal, e como as pessoas do lado de fora podem fazer julgamentos e ser insensíveis quando não sabem de nada ou apenas não se importam mesmo.

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