Motherhood ?

There's a germ of a good idea here: A day in the life of a harassed mother portraying the joy of children plus the many hardships and tribulations involved in a typical day in rearing them. But unfortunately it's a misfire.

Thurman plays Eliza Welch, happily married to Avery (Edwards) and with two young children, now about to prepare her daughter's 6th birthday party. They live in a cramped apartment in New York's West Village, but at least the weather's good this fine day. She's also a blogger and decides to enter a competition in a magazine that asks: "What Does Motherhood Do For Me?"

So we spend the time with her from morning to night as she juggles parking her car while a movie shoot is taking place on her street, receiving abuse from drivers, getting into argumentative discussions in shops, dancing crazily with a delivery guy, and tending to her toddler and dog. She also finds time to hook up with best pal Sheila (Driver) who tells of her craving for sex while being pregnant. She's none too pleased when Eliza posts another intimate story about her on her blog.

All this would be tolerable if Eliza were a likeable character but Thurman plays at such high pitch of anxiety and nervousness, constantly worrying about matters and panicking - she even drives out of the city at one point claiming it's all too much for her and she's a terrible mother - that one is never charmed. The actress has great energy but this is an unpersuasive turn and consequently the whole movie suffers. It tries to be hard-hitting and pertinent about a mother's role in society but ends up trite and sentimental.

Driver gives a nice, relaxed performance and Edwards is OK as the absent minded father but overall this is a painful exercise to sit through and best avoided. Well intentioned to be sure but it misses the bullseye by a long shot.

• Official Site
• Motherhood at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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