Australia, France (Director: Anne Fontaine, Screenwriter: Christopher Hampton)
This gripping tale of love, lust and the power of friendship charts the unconventional and passionate affairs of two lifelong friends who fall in love with each other’s sons. Cast: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel, James Frechevile.
If you're thinking about bringing your mother to see “Two Mothers” you may want to think again.
Based on a true story, this Australian film follows the lives of two women who start sleeping with each other's sons. The premise is enough to spark the curiosity and the voyeurism in any red blooded human. The film is beautifully shot on the east coast of Australia in a secluded cove you can only dream to see in person.
Unfortunately, the taboo subject is only explored on a sexual level. We watch as life long friends played by Naomi Watts and Robin Wright share parallel lives. Both are married with young sons at the same age. The film skips ahead a few years and we meet the two boys who are now gorgeous surfers at the age of 18, their mothers laying on the beach admiring their beauty. The stage is set for the double May-December romance involving the two best friends with each others's sons. What's weird is that this isn't weird to any of the characters. As a viewer your eyebrows are furrowed and your head is cocked to the side as you think, well this isn't right. What was lacking in the film was the depths of these characters. We never see the mothers have real intimate moments with each others sons that did not involve sex.
There are two moments where the two mothers are accused of being lesbians and the women laugh this off. Here is when we get some clarity, albeit subtly, the two mothers are each others soul mates and their sons are mere extensions of them. Only the two mothers love for each other is real and certain. But instead of delving into this, the film veers off into directions that are unnecessary and lacking.
The two mothers never experience guilt or shame for what they are doing. What is certain in the end is that there is no undoing what is done and they will always and forever be intertwined to each other. The Oedipal aspect of the plot is undeniable as both sons consider their lovers as a second mother to them. But that aspect is not explored either.
Instead we go through the stages of their lives as the men attempt to get over their relationships and fail miserably.
The two Mothers remain unchanged and find resolve in each other. At the Q&A French director (of course) Anne Fontaine explained that the audience should feel uncomfortable and that this subject was not especially easy to swallow. However I disagree with this, I think that the discomfort lies in the lack of acknowledgement of the taboo subject then the subject itself.
Overall, the film was beautifully shot and the performances were incredible!
I just would have loved to see this plot line explored more deeply.