Mother (1996) Review

John Henderson is a twice divorced sci-fi writer who decides that moving back in with his mother Beatrice could be the key to solving his personal problems if he repairs the relationship and hopefully be able to move forward in life.


The idea behind his experiment of moving back in with his mother occurred when going through his second divorce. He has issues with women and this is because he does not believe any woman in his life has supported or encouraged him. The big move is not something supported by his brother Jeff who just feels that John is oversensitive to their mothers criticisms and John believes she favours Jeff.

The issue for John and Beatrice is that they are both very similar in character and personality this means that it is very easy for the to begin arguing with one another. However when she cancels plans to visit Jeff this causes him to meltdown and his wife suggests that maybe he has to evaluate his own relationship with his mother.

Something he does discover is that she is very good using his computer and word processor and can type fast and flawlessly and then he actually finds a box with a novel and short story that she had written and that she attended college on a scholarship. This though was something that her husband did not agree with at all due to the social expectations of what mothers should be and not actually have a career at that time.

This therefore shows that the reason they had tension between mother and son was due to her love for writing and stories and being a little bit jealous really as she never actually got to explore her talent and unfulfilled ambitions. I guess that creates a rather interesting point that people can lose themselves when they become parents and it is never too late to be able to come back from that.

Albert Brooks directed and co-wrote the film as well as starring in it, I always love that because it then shows that it is a true passion project for those involved. He had actually tried to get Nancy Reagan and Doris Day to come out of retirement to star as his mother as he wanted someone very good to take on the role. I mean that still did happen with this film being the first time Debbie Reynolds had a starring role since the late 1960s so anything to get more from her is a good thing right? Over twenty years between the roles and I for one am very pleased it happened as we got a few more performances after this one from the true acting legend.

The film is nice enough and the chemistry between Brooks and Reynolds works in the best possible manner. I feel we don’t get enough nice films and that the 1990s seem to be filled with quite a lot of hidden gems like this one and surely we have to be thankful to streaming services for bringing up films like this one.

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