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Like Julianne Moore’s character in The Hours she found herself overwhelmed by her children and

Posted on 07 October 2010

Like Julianne Moore’s character in The Hours, she found herself overwhelmed by her children and literally walked away from their cries.Darren, too, is selfish – his willingness to keep on sleeping with Paula exposed as horribly sloppy The point is, it doesn’t matter. Jenny Joseph wrote a fine poem, “Warning”, about wanting to wear purple in old age, but its rallying cry has since become a clich?I am wrinkled, hear me roar. May, by contrast, is spared any kind of flattering soft-focus. Astute and practical, this woman can also be phoney and cold.

But can those around her spare the room?The Mother works because this isn’t a simple game of them and us. After the funeral, she moves in with Paula, and starts ogling naked statues at the Tate Modern. So many stories, presenting us with an “awakening”, are desperate to make the “awakee” a loveable rebel. Not long after that, she’s ogling Bobby’s laid-back builder friend, Darren (Daniel Craig), even though he’s involved with Paula. May’s eyes have been unpeeled and, when she and Darren begin an explosive affair, her own flesh is exposed. “Dear God,” she says, “let us be alive before we’re dead.” May’s stopped thinking of herself as a waste of space.

Both kids dwell in a west London so polluted with real life it would make Hugh Grant retch The trip exhausts May. For Toots, with his dodgy ticker, it proves fatal.May can’t go back to her old life. We note her fondness for shapeless shoes; also her mouth, which is suggestive of sour things being sucked. One morning, she and Toots set off to visit their offspring: successful Bobby (Steven Mackintosh), in his yuppie pile, and single mum Paula (Cathryn Bradshaw) in her basement flat. As scripted by Hanif Kureishi, The Mother, Michell’s latest project, is better still: a savage, tingly-making portrait of one woman’s sexual rebirth. And, rather aptly, it’s a heart attack that sets her free.
May (Anne Reid) is the sixtysomething homemaker of the title, buried in the suburbs with husband, Toots.

I want to play starring roles that are very different from myself, and from other roles I’ve played.”He sounds like he is summing up in a job interview. We say our goodbyes, and when I look back he has, predictably, blended into the crowd.. In hindsight, a heart attack may have been the making of Roger Michell. Four years ago, flush with the success of cold, corporate Notting Hill and about to embark on the gloopy Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, he was sidelined to the emergency ward and forced to take stock. The film that followed, Changing Lanes, was an arrhythmic Hollywood drama about a life in free fall. You can’t just snip it.” And no, he is not getting much sleep. The couple’s live-in maternity nurse is moving out of their Notting Hill home this week “I’m not sure what we’re going to do,” he jokes.

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