Friday, August 16, 2019

Otherhood (2019)

Movie Name/Year: Otherhood (2019)
Genre: Comedy
Length: 100 minutes
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Mandalay Pictures, Welle Entertainment, Netflix
Director: Cindy Chupack
Writer: Mark Andrus, Cindy Chupack, William Sutcliffe
Actors: Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette, Felicity Huffman, Jake Hoffman, Jake Lacy, Sinqua Walls, Heidi Gardner, Stephen Kunken, Damian Young, Afton Williamson, Frank De Julio, Becki Newton, Mario Cantone, Emily Tremaine, Molly Bernard, Tim Bagley, Kate Easton, Kelcy Griffin, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Rosanny Zayas, Samuel Li Weintraub

Blurb from IMDb: A grounded, soulful, celebratory comedy about three mothers and their adult sons. The film explores the stage after motherhood, Otherhood, when you have to redefine your relationship with your children, friends, spouse, and most importantly, yourself.

Selina’s Point of View:
I was pretty much right about what to expect from this film.

What I wrote in my Top 20 for August was spot on. Otherhood was a fun story about moms learning who they are without their kids, and their kids learning to appreciate them as independent people. There was a lot of comedy and cringe, but the dramatic scenes snuck in here and there.

I’m alright with having put it at number 19, though. Although it wasn’t a chore to watch, it wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

The script had some clunky moments and there were places where the exposition was a little too obvious.

Then there was the issue of starting out with a narrator but not being consistent with it. Normally, if there’s a narrator in a film, you know that person is the main character and you’ll be following their perspective. In this case, it didn’t work that way and the voice-over in the beginning just winds up feeling lazy and unnecessary.

I also had some problems with the timeline, especially at the ending. There’s an epilogue to Otherhood that really didn’t make sense. The movie would actually have been better if that part was cut out completely. It would have left a few questions unanswered, but that still would have been preferred.

In the end, it was solid enough. I don’t think anyone will be calling it their favorite, but it wasn’t bad.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’ve been slightly worried that summer has not been kind to my perception of cinema, so far. Well, everyone, I feel that we now have definitive proof that the heat hasn’t made me overly critical.
How so, you might ask? The answer is simple. After braving the sweltering summer sun in my mobile oven (i.e. a dark-colored SUV without AC in Louisiana) running errands for school supplies, a doctor’s office visit, and other mundane tasks; it is safe to say that cranky was my middle name when I got home.
Let me tell you, Otherhood made it so easy to say ‘bye Felicia’ to that bad mood and enjoy this story. The plot, centering on mom-friends with adult children trying to reconnect with aspects of their lives and relationships with their sons, was something I could really relate to. As an adult, I find that it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of life. Time can pass in the blink of an eye, and sometimes it’s easy to forget to keep in contact with family – even parents.
This is something that I’ve long struggled with in my life in general. I get so tunnel-visioned sometimes or "HEY LOOK A SQUIRREL" happens, and it doesn’t occur to me to call again until stupid-o-clock or other inappropriate timing. This film was a reminder that all relationships require work and communication – whether friendships or family. One of the many things I loved about this movie was that it flowed as a narrative and called me to invest in the characters on their emotional journeys rather than feeling browbeat by the underpinning message.
Everything is easier to swallow with a liberal sprinkling of comedy, however. The poignant moments were well supported by lighter touches, which successfully kept the movie uplifting. Of course, the stellar cast was largely responsible for bringing these three intertwined stories to life.  As an example, I absolutely adored Angela Bassett’s (American Horror Story, Avengers: Endgame, 9-1-1) character. This film really played to her strengths and I could swear that they’ve paid homage to some of her earlier work here. I am fairly certain there was a throwback moment to How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998) in there. Groove on, Ms. Bassett. Groove on.
My daughter just turned 16 this week. I’m letting this movie be one of those well-timed cosmic reminders to keep working on my relationships, lest time slips by with me on the wayside. I swear she was my ‘little girl’ just yesterday – and here we are at her Sweet Sixteen. Talk about some perspective.
I digress…
Netflix did well in nurturing this tale into being. I would encourage anyone who enjoys a good dramedy to give this one a chance. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 29%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 66%
Metascore – 37/100
Metacritic User Score – 3.6/10
IMDB Score – 6.0/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5

P.S. Some additional scenes and bloopers during the credits.

Movie Trailer:

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