Mother and Child (2009 film)

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Mother and Child
Mother and child poster.jpg
Australian theatrical poster
Directed byRodrigo García
Produced byLisa Maria Falcone
Julie Lynn
Written byRodrigo García
StarringNaomi Watts
Annette Bening
Kerry Washington
Jimmy Smits
Samuel L. Jackson
David Morse
David Ramsey
Music byEd Shearmur
CinematographyXavier Pérez Grobet
Edited bySteven Weisberg
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release date
  • September 14, 2009 (2009-09-14) (TIFF)
  • May 7, 2010 (2010-05-07)
Running time
125 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$7 million
Box office$4 million

Mother and Child is a drama directed and written by Rodrigo García. It premiered on September 14, 2009, at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival[1] and at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2010,[2] and was the closing night selection within Maryland Film Festival 2010. It was given a limited release in the United States beginning May 7, 2010.[3]


When she was 14, Karen (Annette Bening) became pregnant and gave her daughter up for adoption. The decision to give up her child has always haunted her. Upon meeting laid-back Paco (Jimmy Smits) at work, Karen allows her anxiety and mistrust to get the best of her. She gradually calms her anxiety through her growing relationship with Paco, and they get married. Paco persuades Karen to write a letter to her unknown, adult daughter, and she leaves the letter with the Catholic agency that had arranged the adoption.

Karen's daughter, Elizabeth (Naomi Watts), grows up to be solitary, willful, and hardhearted. She is hired as an attorney at a prestigious law firm headed by Paul (Samuel L. Jackson). They have an affair, and Elizabeth becomes pregnant. She quits without informing Paul of her condition and moves to a new apartment and a new job. She also leaves a letter for her biological mother with the adoption agency.

Lucy (Kerry Washington) is a baker who longs to be a mother, but she cannot have children of her own. She and her husband, Joseph (David Ramsey), contact the same adoption agency and they meet with a young pregnant, prospective mother. After a protracted interview period, the mother agrees to give the couple her baby, but she changes her mind shortly after giving birth. Lucy is devastated by this news. Joseph reveals that he really wants to have his own biological child and he and Lucy separate.

Elizabeth dies while giving birth to her child. Since no one steps forward to claim the baby, the agency offers the baby to Lucy, who adopts her. At first, Lucy is overwhelmed by the demands of being a new mother.

One year later, Karen finds out about Elizabeth's death and her letter, which had been misplaced, informing her that she has a granddaughter named Ella. The agency arranges a meeting and Karen meets the little girl and Lucy, who live a short distance away in her own neighborhood.



The film was originally going to be produced by Cha Cha Cha Films, Focus Films and Universal Studios; Julie Lynn through Mockingbird Films took over in late 2008 with a production budget of $7 million.[4] Principal photography began in January, 2009.[5]


The film has been met with generally positive reviews, with critics praising the standout performance of Annette Bening, and garnering a 79% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes and a weighted average score of 64 at Metacritic.[6][7]

The film was awarded the Grand Prix du Jury 2010 at the Deauville American Film Festival (France).


  1. ^ McCarthy, Todd (September 16, 2009). "Mother and Child: TIFF Review". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  2. ^ Rich, Katey (January 28, 2010). "Sundance Review: Mother And Child". Cinema Blend LLC. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  3. ^ "Mother and Child Release". CraveOnline. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  4. ^ Frater, Patrick (November 5, 2008). "Bening, Watts star in 'Mother'". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved June 1, 2009.
  5. ^ "Samuel L. Jackson Joins Mother and Child". CraveOnline. January 30, 2010. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  6. ^ "Mother and Child Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  7. ^ "Mother and Child Reviews at". Metacritic. Retrieved 12 May 2010.

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