When little kids have an imaginary tea party or action figure battle, tossing in an unimaginative parent could completely ruin the fun. What once felt real could be suddenly spoiled by a wise adult. There’s no rule barring adults from coming of age movies, but in Flipped’s case there should be. What starts off as a beautifully innocent tale of two teens navigating their confusing feelings for one another, is stomped all over and tarnished by painfully overdone grownup nonsense.
Juli Baker’s (Madeline Carroll) had a crush on Bryce Loski (Callan McAuliffe) since the day Bryce moved to town. They were just seven-years-old, but Juli was positive Bryce would be her first kiss. The problem is, Bryce didn’t share the sentiment. In fact, he couldn’t stand Juli and still can’t six years later. He hates her barren yard, when she announces the school bus’ ETA block-by-block from the top of a sycamore tree and even when she just attempts to be neighborly and bring his family batches of eggs from the hens she owns. Bryce shuns just about everything Juli does until an inexplicable feeling begins to creep up inside of him; maybe he likes her a little bit too.
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When you’ve got a movie called Motherhood, it’s naturally assumed the film is mom material only. The Motherhood PR team even made an extra effort to have a number of mom bloggers participate in the roundtables. Yes, Motherhood is about, well, motherhood, but there’s also a much deeper meaning behind the portrayal of a day in the life of mother of two, Eliza (Uma Thurman).
Much of the roundtable questions probed the film’s writer and director, Katherine Dieckmann, about her child raising philosophies and experiences, so I used my one-on-one time to investigate Dieckmann’s implementation of those elements to create an entertaining and meaningful movie.
The interview is fairly long, 18 minutes, so I chopped it up into two pieces. The first half primarily addresses Dieckmann’s inspiration and how Motherhood, contrary to popular belief, can be a movie for anybody. One particularly intriguing portion of this half of the interview is when Dieckmann tells me about the movie poster. As I said in my review of Motherhood, I’m not a fan of the poster. I still think a poster’s effectiveness can be assessed by a person’s initial reaction to the image, but Dieckmann enlightens me on the deeper meaning beyond its face value.
In the latter half Dieckmann goes into detail on the casting process. She tells me a little something about everyone from the film’s leading lady to the talented young actress who plays Eliza’s six-year-old daughter Clara (Daisy Tahan).
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If you’ve read my interview with Katherine Dieckmann and Uma Thurman, you know Uma’s parting words were “Live long and prosper.” Apparently she’s not the only Star Trek fan in Motherhood. The first thing Anthony Edwards did when he sat down at the table was run his fingers over the metallic mesh table runner and say, “This is a little Star Trek-y.’ What makes this whole Star Trek thing even stranger is that during my one-on-one with Dieckmann she told me she has no interest in sci-fi when it comes to writing.
Don’t expect anymore out-of-this-world talk in this interview because Motherhood cannot be more different from Star Trek. Edwards plays Avery, the husband of the super-stressed mother of two Eliza (Thurman). He’s a loving father but a bit absentminded. Edwards may not be as forgetful as his character, but admits he has a little Avery in him, which is understandable considering how much he has on his plate.
On top of Motherhood, Edwards just wrapped the Rob Reiner comedy Flipped and plans to run the New York Marathon with the charity Shoe4Africa. The proceeds will go to building a children’s hospital in Kenya. ER may be long gone, but Edwards still has some Dr. Greene in him!
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Everyone knows the idiom ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.’ I propose a new version, ‘Don’t judge a movie by its poster.’ For some reason, every time I look at the poster for Katherine Dieckmann’s Motherhood, I can’t help but to roll my eyes in disgust. The poster led me to believe the film would be a pity party for moms. Portions of the film certainly don that party hat, but overall Motherhood is charming and manages to turn the hackneyed concept of the used and abused mother into a fresh and pleasurable film.
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