Motherhood Review: Laboured Laughs
Have I been fooled by the movies or do all American newspaper columnists start their articles with a question? Is this really how they write? Just a series of sentences punctuated by question marks?
Sex In The City’s Carrie Bradshaw made a career doing it and now mum-of-two Eliza Welch is in on the act.
Eliza (Uma Thurman) is a former fiction writer turned blogger who has put her career on hold to raise some kids in New York’s Greenwich Village, and Motherhood follows one hectic day in which she must organise and throw her daughter’s 6th birthday party, mind her toddler son, mend a rift she created with her best friend and battle for a parking space. On top of all that, a dream job at a parenting magazine has come up for which she must write 500 words on “What Motherhood Means To Me” by midnight.
What Motherhood means for you is an hour and a half focused on a self-absorbed, stay-at-home mum flap about and moan constantly about having such a busy day even though half her problems are self-inflicted.
A fall-out with her friend (Minnie Driver) is started when Eliza posts a secret about her online. She wastes most of the day in a clothes sale and burns the rest of her valuable time inviting a delivery boy up to dance.
Each tick on her long to-do list is punctuated by posting woe-is-me rants on her blog like “must a woman’s soul die because she’s a mommy?” – yawn! A woman “speaking out” about the difficulties of bringing up kids? What a maverick! A true pioneer! She says to her pal Sheila: “Nobody ever talks about this stuff.”
Unfortunately they do. All the time. There’s an infinite amount of mum-blogs, online forums, columns and supplements. Surely to get that dream job she’d have to be aware of the competition?
The funniest scenes come from Minnie Driver as a deadpan single mum but the rest of the film is lacking in laughs. It could have been a sharp parody of fad-following, modern mums except the movie tries hard to make us like Eliza. Most mums, and everyone else for that matter, will struggle to relate to her.
So with a title like Motherhood, what does the film have to say about the subject? Well, nothing really. It seems Eliza’s life would be happier if she didn’t have kids. What about the good things? Being a mum is really hard. But everyone knows that don’t they? Oh no, that American column writing thing is catching.
Her hectic day, of course, helps her understand the important things in life and she gets the question mark-littered 500 words emailed in time. If it’s anything like the film, Eliza’s article will say nothing about the timeless task of raising children, be full of clichés and just not very funny.