Monday night we went to a screening for the film 'Mother and Child' starring Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Kerry Washington, Jimmy Smitts and Samuel L Jackson. This film is about adoption and how it affects all in the triad (adoptee, birthmother, and adoptive parents). When I say adoption, the main story deals specifically with closed adoption and how harmful it really can be, which confirms all that I am reading about why open adoption really is more healthy for all involved.
Spoiler Alert! Back to the plot, Annette Bening's character, Karen had a baby when she was 14. It appears as if her mother coerced her into putting the baby up for adoption. Karen is now 51 and it is clear that her whole life has been stunted by this event. We get glimpses of how the unknown preys on her mind in the letters she writes to her daughter but never sends, since she has no idea where her daughter is, or if she is even still alive. Naomi Watt's character, Elizabeth is her daughter, and she is someone who has distanced herself from everyone, excels at her work, and uses her body to gain the upper hand when she feels threatened. We learn that Elizabeth is not close with her adoptive parents, and there is a scene where Elizabeth is asked about her mother from someone who does not know she was adopted, and Elizabeth answers referring to her birthmother. This is where I had to cringe a bit, since I found it hard to believe that she didn't think of her adoptive mother as her mother. However, we do not really get to see into what her relationship is, or was with her adoptive parents, but clearly, not knowing anything about her birthmother, and/or maybe the fact that she was lied to by her adoptive parents about being adopted, has had a great and negative impact on her life.
Then we have Kerry Washington's character, Lucy who along with her husband is going through an open adoption. So we get a viewpoint from each of the components that make up the adoption triad. There are a few things that I really liked about this movie. First of all, it was nice to see a movie about people that are, for want of a better word, real. Annette Bening is a beautiful woman, and here she is playing a character that is her age, without tons of makeup, or digital help. Everyone just looked like people do, in your day to day life. I also really liked the pace of the movie, even though some may say the film is too long, but it was nice to let yourself go in a film that gives you some credit for having an attention span. The acting is superb, it really is nice seeing Samuel L Jackson playing a "normal" guy. Of course the other reason that I liked this movie is that it covers a topic that I am becoming intimately involved with. From what I have read and heard from others, there are a lot of misconceptions out there concerning adoption, so to have a major motion picture shedding some light on adoption is refreshing.