“THE RELATIONSHIP OF MOTHER AND CHILD REMAINS INDELIBLE AND INDESCRIBABLE…THE STRONGEST BOND ON EARTH” – Theodore Reik
Mother and Child (2009) is a good movie,even though It has a contrived plot,and is predictable.The acting and writing is superb. iIt absorbed my attention and reflection long after I saw the movie.
Rodrigo Garcia, the writer and director is a master of relationship dialogue.He was the writer of the popular HBO series, The Sopranos, and the executive producer, developer,creator, writer and director of the HBO series , In Treatment, (taking it from the wildly successful original BeTipul, in Israel.)
The movie is a story of 3 seemingly unrelated women who are dealing with issues of mother and child, but whose lives intertwine. .It has humor, wit, and Garcias signature which is insight, and profound moments.
It is a woman’s film, and evokes much emotional response. The women, their conflicts and drive are told beautifully, while the mens characters, are not quite as developed.
In a news article, titled, “Rodrigo Garcia: The man who loves women”, Garcia is quoted, ( interview at the Toronto International Film Festival)
“The question of female identity is still incredibly fertile. What are you, part from mother daughter,wife,sister? I find that infinitely fascinating”.
Garcia is the son of Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez (considered as one of the most significant authors of the 20th century,awarded the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature)Because of this Rodrigo knew Julio Cortazar, Argentinas greatest writer, Pablo Neruda, famous Chilean poet and Luis Bunuel, famous Mexican film maker when he was young.
The bridge in this movie is a Catholic adoption agency run by a nun. All the women in the story cross this bridge at some time. The Catholic influence is also employed as quasi mystical, and wise sage background commentary imposed on a more realistic secular view of life that is the manifest thread.The Nun is blessed with a radiant smile, and a face that expresses empathy and love. She doesn’t need words.
But the movie is not corny; it is quite beautiful, and the characters are very believable…the films gifts of flawless acting, and excellent writing never let down or disappoint
The first few minutes are a wordless prologue.We see a boy and a girl sitting on the edge of a bed facing each other.They embrace and kiss, first hesitantly,then with increasing ardor. The girl lifts her T-shirt to remove it They are on the verge of adolescence.The seriousness,hesitancy,and commitment each to the other is captured for us to share,reflect and remember there are ephemeral memories that belong only to our youth.
Next we are in a large room with many very young girls who are in the last stages of pregnancy.Silence,and a serious demeanor permeates the room. The camera focuses on a sad face of a youngster stroking her belly.Then we see this young girl groaning in labor and hear the cry of the new born.She has a transfixed expression as she looks at her crying infant daughter.
The prologue is over.
Karen(Annette Bening) is waking from an uncomfortable night. She is a woman of about 50.She has had bad dreams…tosses a bit,gets out of bed and walks from her small anteroom into the larger part of the suite where an old lady lies sleeping. Karen carefully moves the sheet, and gets into bed next to her mother, and falls asleep.
Later they are at breakfast…the scowling serious faces do not show a happy family. Karen looks at her food and says to no one. “Her birthday is coming up. She is going to be 37”. Her mother shows no affect to this comment.
We are moved quickly to a spacious lawyers office on a high floor looking out on the city.Blonde, beautiful lawyer Elizabeth (Naomi Watts) is being interviewed for a position by the head of the firm, Paul (Samuel L. Jackson). He is an African American of perhaps 60+ and Elizabeth is soon to be 37 .
He is impressed with her resume, and notes that she has moved in and out of the city several times. She says she goes where it is best for her, and LA is as good a place as any to be. He wants to know some personal history.
She was born in Los Angeles, and was given up for adoption on the day of her birth. Her mother was 14 at the time and that is all she knows of her mother.Her adoptive father died when she was 10 and she is not close with her adoptive mother. Elizabeth Joyce is a name she picked out for herself when she was in junior high school.She has lived alone since she was 17, and prefers it that way. She has never been married and doesn’t intend to marry. She values her independence too much.She can work alone or in a team,but prefers alone, and she can work equally well with men or women but prefers men because women find her threatening.She is hired.
Now we are in the office of the adoption agency and Lucy,(Kerry Washington) a young charming energetic African American woman is telling Sister Joanne(Cherry Jones) that she has accepted that she and her husband, Joseph, are not going to have a child, and she is ready to adopt. She wants very much to please, and so she continues on in a warm and friendly manner,saying how affectionate Joseph is and he would make a good father, although he says nothing the entire interview. When they leave, she berates herself for talking so much, and everything she said,and gets angry at him for not uttering a word, but she soon settles down into what appears her optimistic and cheerful self.Joseph tells her Sister Joanne liked her,and she says, Please God let us find a baby.
Karen is a physical therapist.She is at work , holding a frail elderly woman in her arms in a pool.A tour of the facility is happening, and Karen is very aware of Paco, a new physical therapist, looking at her. She says to the woman in her arms…do you think that man is flirting with you. the woman regards her with some surprise, but considers it,and says yes, I think so.
Karen walks into her home at the end of the day. Her mother, as elderly as the one she held today, but in not as good a physical condition,is sound asleep in a chair. Sofia is a domestic worker who takes care of Nora, the mother, and does the housework. she is ironing, and her little daughter sits nearby. She greets Karen in a friendly manner, but Karen is distant and hostile. She tells Karen about her mothers day, offers to put her into bed, but Karen says no. Sofia and her daughter, Mija, prepare to leave, but first Sofia goes in to tenderly caress the mother , Nora, and say goodbye. There is love there that doesn’t exist in Karen’s relationship to her mother. After they leave, Karen tells her mother that she wants to get a new person to care for her,because she resents that Sofia brings her child,Mija with her, and didn’t even ask if that was all right. We hear the first thing Nora says, and it is strong. “You can’t fire this woman.” There is a bond between them.
Elizabeth is reading a case in her apartment, and the doorbell rings incessantly. She doesn’t expect anyone, and is annoyed at the interruption.she opens the door, and a young couple, Tracy,pregnant and her husband Steven,have come to be friendly and to welcome Elizabeth to this building.Tracy gushes on the safety of the building, and invites Elizabeth to come and borrow a cup of sugar which is never going to happen. Elizabeth gets rid of them, but not before she gets a long look at the young handsome very quiet husband.
As if to underline the meaning of Elizabeths look,our next scene is a humorous one in which Lucy and Joseph are having intercourse, and Josephs’ mother rings the unanswered phone, but proceeds to leave a loud long message on the message maker.
After this we see Lucy at work decorating beautiful cakes in a very upscale bakery where she works for her mother. She has told her mother the plan to adopt a baby.The mother,Ada,as cheerful and optimistic as her daughter, laughs and says Joseph’s mother, Carol is not going to tolerate her prince of a son raising a child that is not his own. She is aware that all of her good natured chatter about motherhood is hurting Lucy who is beset with anxiety, and she apologizes profusely, saying,” I’m an idiot.” she is not..she is wonderfully supportive as the movie develops.
Karen is brushing her mothers hair.Nora asks her how is work? “Good,” Karen says & tells her with a little softness, and smile. “There is a new therapist at work…my age, graying, a little heavyset. very friendly.everybody likes him.”We saw him in an earlier scene, trying to impress Karen to whom he is attracted. She was not receptive, and her softness in telling it is a surprise.
Nora looks at her 50 year old spinster daughter and says “Watch yourself,Karen.Be careful you don’t set yourself up for a fall.”The smile leaves Karens face and she puts the hairbrush down.
Back at work,while exercising a patient, Karen says to her co worker, here comes Valentino, and Paco comes over to talk to her. He says in a very soft and pleasant and hesitant manner, “look, I think we got off on the wrong foot.”
What do you mean? she says harshly.” Well, I seem to say things that upset you.”
She cuts him off and snaps, “you don’t know me well enough to know if I’m upset.” He leaves, and she says to herself sarcastically, “good work, Karen”
Later in the parking lot as they are both pulling out in their cars, she says to him…”I have some time. I could have some coffee.”
He considers this, and asks if he can join her. She curtly says all right.
They sit in the coffee shop and order coffee. He calls back the waitress and decides to have apple pie also. Says to Karen with a laugh, he can’t resist apple pie. She sternly says” you should watch your weight.” He agrees with her to keep it pleasant. The coffee comes, and untasted she sends it back saying its cold.
He asks her how long she has been at this facility. She says,” 6 years, 6 months” and the days and gives him the date of her first day.She tells him where she was before which he says is a nice place. She differs on that. Her supervisor was very sloppy and she did all the work for that supervisor so she wouldn’t look sloppy, and got tired of that, so she told the supervisor how she felt, and she got fired.
He says he has been in LA for 6 months, coming from the bay area. He is divorced,and he is also a grandfather. His daughter has twins. He measures his words and says that he never seems to say the right thing to her , and he is trying.
“what do you mean?”, Karen asks.
Well, I always seem to put my foot in my mouth.
She snaps at him. “I’m not a disagreeable person. You are suggesting I am a disagreeable person,” and she walks out in a huff.
Paul has given Elizabeth a superior office, and she suspiciously wants to know what she has done to deserve that. He tells her his expectations are high which confirms her thoughts, and invites her to a company welcome dinner at an expensive restaurant. When she gets there she discovers the company dinner is just the two of them. She surveys the situation. He invites her to have a drink before dinner. She chooses sparkling water which is a message to him. This is a girl who drinks.
She jumps right to the point. “Are you married?”.
“No, my wife passed away 5 years ago.”
What was her name?
What do you miss the most about her?
“That we were so close. I miss that. We laughed that we were closer to each other, than to our children”.He is very honest.It’s a good answer.
He has two grown children, boy and girl…now 28 & 30.
We abruptly jump to dinner…but not dinner with these 2. The free association which tells the narrative of the movie…always follows the thread of the previous…generally very short scene. This is the structure of the movie. Never does it stop moving very quickly from a scene of one of these 3 women, Karen,Elizabeth,Lucy to the other…but there is always the transitional thread that you can find. Very therapy oriented.
We are having dinner with Josephs parents, as they eat and listen to Lucy telling them of the plans to adopt a child.They approach this very cautiously..with not much acceptance. They were hoping to hear that Lucy was pregnant.
The father says that the birth parent has access to the child and can walk in at any time. Lucy denies this.The adopted child belongs to them, but the birth parent is invited to participate if she wants, and the child has the right to know its birth parent if it wants..but the control is with the adopting parents. Josephs parents become submissive to a situation they do not like.
One night Elizabeth is working late in her office…nevertheless,dressed in a bare strapped dress (well, its LA so maybe thats the style for top notch lawyers working late at night) Paul looks in and she says she has finished a difficult case which she thinks will please the clients. She invites him to her place for a late night drink.
As they get off the elevator on her floor,the exuberant young neighbors returning from their first birthing class meet them in the hall. Tracy is her usual breathless excited saccharine self,while the handsome husband stands totally silent.
Tracy gushes on and looks at Paul questioningly. Elizabeth, not missing a beat, “Oh this is Paul. He is my father.” Elizabeth has been very cool in this neighborly exchange. As they leave the young couple we can hear Tracy in a stage whisper.”adopted!”.
When they get into her apartment,Paul asks, “What was that about? they seem like nice people.”
Elizabeth says “who knows what they are like…they are so busy reinventing themselves to please everyone”.A profound observation…and perhaps something she had to do herself to survive.
She pours him a big drink, and tells him that she wants him to down it in one go. He does.
She kisses him. They embrace. He is somewhat hesitant,but doesn’t resist.
She pushes him down on the edge of the bed,feet on the floor,bent at the knees and lying back. She inches over him and removes her panties. He starts to get up. She says Uh, uh, and pushes him back. He lays there very passive, in his tailored 3 piece suit with tie, and she starts to unzip him.
Again he responds with a move. Elizabeth says ” stay still, don’t move, old man”…and then later in a whisper, “good boy, Paul”
The scene that follows is slow, dramatic and intensely erotic.
But we have learned a lot about Elizabeth…aggression, dominance,power and a hostility are released in this beautiful woman. This is the beginning of an affair between them which you will see in many scenes to come.Elizabeth calls it an affair, and Paul says how can it be as they are both unmarried but she corrects him that any sexual relationship between 2 consenting adults that is fleeting and not permanent is an affair, and he thanks her for her legal definition.
Paul always remains passive, accepting, but allows absolutely no abandonment to feelings and lets her know that he doesn’t feel right about it..her age , and also that she isn’t right for him,he wants someone who can replace Maureen.
In the morning, as Paul sleeps in bed, she wakes up, puts a terry cloth robe around her nude body and walks out on the deck. Steven, Tracy’s husband dressed in a suit to go to work is on the adjacent outdoor deck, Seeing him she pulls the bathrobe off to reveal a breast, and then slowly opens the entire robe, and stands there nude before him….gives him a look and goes back into the room.
When Paul leaves, Steven comes to her apartment, and they have passionate sex with not a word spoken. This is the start of an affair with him, that continues concurrently with the one with Paul.We have more scenes of her in bed with Paul, and their conversations about work..and scenes in bed with Steven, who keeps coming to her but looks sullen and unhappy. One day he knocks on the door. Elizabeth answers and asks, Where is your wife? Steven says she won’t be back until 10. He has left his door open and Elizabeth slips in his apartment. He objects, and Elizabeth says,” that’s todays menu. Take it or leave it.” He goes to get her a drink. She walks in the bedroom and rifles through the drawers. Finding a drawer with Tracy’s things, Elizabeth removes her panties and puts them in the drawer. When Steven comes back with a drink, she is laying on the top of the bed, nothing on but her unbuttoned shirt, and says to him..”lets go at it, cowboy”.
All of this occurs in very brief intermittent scenes with Karen and Lucy.
Karen’s mother ,Nora, has a seizure. .She says she doesn’t want to die here. Karen says you’re not going to die. Nora snaps.” I am going to die..what do you think ,that I am going to live forever? and if I could, would I want to? I wouldn’t . Life has been one disappointment after another.”
She is in bed now most of the time…has not much to say to Karen,but enjoys watching Sofia and her little daughter play games. She laughs with them.
Nora dies. Karen , removes Nora’s things while talking to her lost daughter,which she does through a lot of the film. She also writes her dreams about her daughter and relates them to the daughter, She tells her daughter that there was nothing but silence between her and mother, but it won’t be that way between Karen and her daughter; there will be a lot to say. She says that she knows in her heart there will come a time when she will find her.Karen has a full active life in imaginative dialogue with the daughter she bore and lost.
Karen stops in a bank to see a man that was her boyfriend a long time ago. she tells him her mother died. . they go to a motel together and go to bed and make love. She dresses, says to him that he didn’t ask her once how she has done all these years…he is apologetic, but she says no…it had to come from him and it didn’t and she leaves.
Back at work, Paco kindly tells her that he is sorry that she lost her mother, and losing a parent is hard. At her locker there is a plastic bag tied to the locker handle with tomatoes in it. She angrily grabs the bag and storms out to the parking lot where he is leaving. She says,” is this yours?” ” Yes, they are tomatoes from my garden that I thought you would enjoy.”
She is in a rage…”how dare you leave them on my locker for everyone to see, so people will think I am your girlfriend. You idiot,” she screams and shoves the tomatoes at him.. He grabs the bag. and walks across the parking lot to her, and says to her angrily, “The right word, is thank you. who do you think you are! Fucking rude, that s who you are are. Weirdo…weirdo” He shoves the tomatoes at her and goes back to his car and leaves.
She is upset with her anger. She slips a note of apology into Pacos locker. When she goes out to the parking lot, he is holding the letter and says to her that it is he who should apologize.
She explains to him that she is not a weirdo, but she is a difficult person. she doesn’t make friends easily. She doesn’t like to be disappointed and he came on to her as a surprise. She could go out on saturday night,she says.
On saturday, she is working in the garden, and thru the window sees Sophia’s child standing on a chair trying to reach into a high kitchen cupboard. she comes into the kitchen and demands the scared child get down. She takes down the bag of cookies the child was reaching for, and offers it to the child,saying, “here you little thief, take one.” The kid is really scared,but Karen insists. Meija takes one…Karen says eat it, and the child looks away trying not to cry as she takes a small bite. Karen notices a locket around her neck, takes it off, grabs the child by the hand and goes into the front room where Sofia is vacuuming and demands to know where Meija got the locket.
Sofia says your mother gave it to her. Karen says,” she did not..it had belonged to her mother” (Karens grandmother) Sofia says,” maybe so but she gave it to Meija for her birthday”. She says to Karen your mother was a loving and generous woman.
Karen looks at her. “what else did she give you?”
“a photo of herself.”
“Because I asked for it.”
Karen asks Sofia,” did she ever talk to you about me?”
Sofia says “sometimes”.
What did she say?
“She said that you were unhappy.”.
Karen asks,” did she tell you why? Did she tell you what happened.?”
Sofia says,” she said she had ruined your life and she was sorry.”
Karen cries, and says, “why didn’t she say that to me?…why to you…why did she never say that to me?”
Sofia leaves with the little girl,and Karen cries most of the afternoon..forgetting she has a date with Paco.
At 7 he knocks at the door..she answers it and says its not a good time for her, but he is not going to accept that, so she gets in the car.
She says,” look. I need to tell you.
I had a baby girl when I was 14 and it was adopted the day it was born.
that baby is on my mind all of the time.I think of nothing else. I write letters to her that I never send. I buy her birthday gifts. I look for her wherever I go.It is my whole life. Everything I do is to look for that girl and think on her. thats who I am. thats all I am. I have nothing to give.I have nothing else.”
He takes her hand in his and smiles at her.
she says to him softly, “where the hell did you come from?”
Karen and Paco marry. There is a lovely sweet wedding.Karen is much softened,and loves Sofia’s daughter but Sofia moves to Texas for a better job.
There is a family picnic. Karen and Paco are eating with Melissa, Pacos daughter who is a practicing Catholic and outspoken about about Jesus and religion. she tells Karen that Paco, her father , the most kind hearted man in the world does not believe in God, but she knows Karen is a good woman ,and must carry the love of Mary in her heart. She continues that she knows about Karens loss, and she thinks that Karen must try to find her daughter, because the time will run out, and she will be left with regret and regret is a killer.
That night Karen asks Paco what he thinks and he says that he agrees with his daughter. “Do you know where to start?”, He asks Karen. She nods yes.
They meet with Sister Joanna. Yes , she has the adoption records. the girl was born on Nov 7,1973, and was adopted on Nov 10th. She is not permitted to give any information but Karen can write a letter and leave it in a file. If the daughter comes looking, she will be given the letter. Karen asks if the girl would have been given the same information.?
Yes. But the girl has not come by and may not be interested.Ultimately she leaves a letter because Sister Joanna encourages her. She says it really works .
She has seen it happen numerous times.
Sister Joanna is telling Lucy and Joseph that they have a very good chance with a pregnant woman to adopt her child. . Sister Joanna is very encouraging about the coming meeting and Lucy is very excited and nervous.
They meet Ray, a small intelligent, 20 year old unfriendly black girl.Ray says, “were you told that I have all ready turned down several couples?”. Joseph and Lucy nod. Joseph asks, “what kind of people are you looking for?” Ray cuts him short, by saying ” I want to hear from her before I hear from you”, gesturing to Lucy.
She says to Lucy”,well say something. surely you have something to say. most people come with a prepared speech.” Lucy is speechless. Ray gets up…”well, if you have nothing to say.” Lucy says,” wait…sit.”.Ray does not. Lucy says.” well I didn’t think that I would feel like I was dragged into the principals office to be scolded.” Ray laughs and says.” good answer.
She sits and says to Lucy, ignoring Joseph…”do you believe in God.?”
Lucy says, “I was raised Catholic.”
Ray says ,”I asked you if you believed in God.”
long silence…then Lucy says,” no.”
Ray says,” don’t you believe there is a higher being who planned all this and created it?”
Lucy says,” no.
ray says. “what do you believe.?”
Lucy says,” I believe that we came from nothing, and when we die we go back to nothing, and our life depends on our will, our strength of character, and on luck, the roll of the dice.”
ray says , “is that what you would teach my baby?”
Lucy says,”Well, it would actually be my baby, and yes that is what I would do”.
After the interview, Lucy is very upset for saying what she did and gets mad at Joseph for not stopping her.
But then sister Joanna comes in and says Ray wants another meeting, and they arrange it just for Lucy as Joseph can’t come that day.
They meet again and Ray says,” I haven’t told anyone what I am having. do you want to know? I am having a boy.”
Lucy says Joseph wants a boy.
ray says,” what do you want.?”
It doesn’t matter.
But, Ray says, “if you were having your own baby, what would you want?”
Lucy says , “a girl”
Ray says, “do you always tell the truth?”
Lucy says its easier to remember the truth.
Ray says,” here is what I want. I want to come to your house and see how you live. I want to meet your parents and your friends. I don’t have to interrogate them, and it doesn’t have to be in one go. I want to spend some nights at your house. I want to name the baby. After that its goodbye.”
Ray visits her mother… a very attractive successful woman who owns an upscale dress shop. Ray’s mother is upset with her decision. She wants Ray to keep the baby, as 20 year old Ray is the same age she was when she had Ray. She raised Ray herself, and sees no reasons Ray should not do the same. She says to Ray,” this baby comes from you. It is a part of you. How can you give that away?” Ray says,” I don’t want it.” Her mother says.” neither did I want you. I didn’t want you at all, but today every thought I have is about you,and I want the best of everything for you and that is my life.”
Lucy is very happy. One day she comes in the house to see Joseph staring at tv,but not really watching. she asks him what’s wrong?. He tells her that he doesn’t know how they got so far into this with Ray. He says he wants his own child. Lucy says he knows that she cannot do that, and he says he is sorry about that. their marriage is over.
Lucy cries to her mother that she could hear his mothers voice coming though him. Her mother says it will blow over, Lucy says no. Her mother considers this is the end of the adoption.
Lucy looks at her and says,” of course not. this baby is mine. I am going to have her, and raise her myself. Do you understand that? It won’t matter to Ray. She doesn’t like Joseph anyhow. She is my baby.”
Lucy is definite, but unaware that she has used she for a baby she knows will be a boy.
One day Elizabeth goes to a gynecologist to report her period is missed… never before happened. The doctor suggests pregnancy but Elizabeth says at 17 she had her tubes tied. The doctor is surprised about a young girl doing this and how she got it done. Elizabeth says she went across the border into Mexico, and had it done.They didn’t know she was a minor. It was her decision to do.She has placed her anger of her birth on herself as well as with sexual partners.The friendly woman doctor says you look familiar. No, Elizabeth says, “we’ve never met. you were on a list for my firm where I am a lawyer”. the Dr. says. “I remember,were you atUC law? You used to live next to ..she names some women.We were never friends. I was a little intimidated by you.”
Elizabeth says angrily, “I don’t appreciate going over my past life with someone I have known only 2 minutes.”The Dr. apologizes and silently examines her..orders some tests and tells her to come back in a couple of days.
Back at the office Paul stops in to see her and asks if she has ever looked for her biological parents. Elizabeth says there aren’t 2…no father ..in her head she only thinks of her mother. She says she lives in her hometown…how hard would it be for her to find Elizabeth if she wanted to.
Paul says he just thought her mother would be proud of who she is. He is delighted with the time out of the office he has spent with her. He doesn’t know if he is coming or going. She knows what she wants and he likes that. But he finds it a bit scary for him and he has to bow out.
She says he doesn’t seem like a man who gets scared. He says,” sometimes when you fall down, it’s hard to get up” and he leaves.
Elizabeth goes back to the gynecologist. the Dr. tells her that she is indeed pregnant, and while rare in these circumstances,it sometimes happens.The doctor says to make an appointment in the office, and they will take care of it…as Elizabeth told her she is not married, and has no intimate friend and then she will give her instruction on other birth control.Elizabeth , walks out, goes to the receptionist desk and with a swipe of her hand throws everything on the desk, off to the floor. The dr. rushes out of her office and says whats going on.? Elizabeth yells at her,” who do you think you are that you know what I want, you cunt,” and storms out.
Steven is seen knocking at Elizabeths door. No answer, and we see the interior of the apartment. It is empty.
Elizabeth knocks at the door of Paul’s home one night, and Maria his daughter answers it. They are having a party and she invites Elizabeth in. It is a very happy party, all African American. Everyone seems to know everyone else, and there is much joking, laughing, and a character of ease and comfort everywhere. A very healthy, very happy crowd enjoying their life. they are very welcoming to her. She observes it all very carefully. Paul sees her , and beckons to her. In a private room, she tells him that she is leaving in the morning.
He asks if its something he has done or something he has not done. No ,she is leaving…they give each other a warm loving hug and she walks out the door.
She takes an entry level job, answering the phone, and booking appointments for a storefront small business. She is going to have this child.Perhaps Paul’s kind, loving,accepting manner has been a source of healing to her, that she can allow this to herself, and will have a child fathered by a loving man even though the child will never know its father.
She moves to a different apartment.Every day she goes up to the roof to sit.She meets there a young blind girl named Violet. They become friends. She tells Violet she is pregnant and Violet wants to feel the baby. She does and contemplates,” a person inside another person . science fiction.”
“She doesn’t know a thing.”
“Who”?, Elizabeth asks.
“the baby…only her mothers heartbeat.you’re nice to talk to,” Violet says. “I can’t talk to my mother. She is so frightened for me that she just freaks out. What is your mother like?”
Oh, Elizabeth says,” she is kind and gentle,and has a sense of humor.” Violet considers this.
Then Elizabeth says, “Actually I have no idea. She gave me up for adoption when I was born.She was 14 and that’s all I know about her.”
Are you angry with her? Violet asks.
“No, I use to be but I ran out of anger. I think about her a lot, but just as a girl of 14, like you.”
Violet smiles…”but not a virgin”.
“No, not a virgin”.
Violet wants to know if Elizabeth has looked for her.
Elizabeth says,” no, if I found her what would I say to her?”
Violet says,” I wouldn’t say anything. I would just sit with her as you and are doing now.”
Elizabeth thinks on this. One night she writes a letter to her mother. She writes, I don’t want to impose myself on you, I’m not a nuisance. I am pregnant and I would like my child to know where she came from. My name is Elizabeth and I am a lawyer. I am successful, and independent. I don’t need anything from you. But if you want to meet , so would I , and if you don’t’ I understand.She takes it to the agency , and gives it to a receptionist who says thank you. Elizabeth very moved, leaves, and the phone rings. It is a friend of the receptionist…she starts to chatter and lays the letter down on a pile of stuff.
One day,Maria, Pauls daughter walks by the storefront, and recognizes Elizabeth. She walks in to chat, notices the advanced pregnancy, and asks if it is Pauls. Elizabeth says no, and Maria leaves.
Elizabeth has a different doctor. An older man. She goes to him because she has been spotting. He orders an ultrasound, and tells her that she has a placenta previa, and might need a c section before term.She is firm with him, that she won’t allow that. She is going to carry this baby and push it out herself. One might question that any ob would accept this order as he knows how dangerous this is, but Elizabeth is consistent in selecting passive men in her life where she issues the orders.He meekly tells her to rest, take it easy and not strain herself with undue activity.
One day Paul comes to Elizabeths office. He tells her that 3 months ago,he met a woman. She is smart,she is tender.They are thinking of moving East but if this is his child he wants Elizabeth to come back to him.He will take care of her, both of them.He will never leave. she is what he wants.
She listens to him and doesn’t say a word.
That night she starts to pack all of her things. As suitcases and boxes are filled with a lot of stuff she heads down each time in the elevator to the parking garage. One time Violet gets on the elevator and elizabeth says nothing,but is very tearful. Violet exits the elevator unaware that Elizabeth was there.
The suitcases are large and heavy…she has trouble lifting them to put in the car trunk. Finally she is struggling with a large heavy box, and starts to groan.
Next we see her in the hospital. Her doctor tells her she is bleeding, and that possibly has stressed the baby. She says she wants to see that baby at birth, and she doesn’t want him to knock her out. the baby is born. It is a black girl infant. Elizabeth kisses her daughter..her pressure is dropping and the dr. says open her up, but it is too late. Elizabeth bleeds to death.
Ray is in labor at the same time. Lucy and her mother are with Ray and help her through the delivery. Lucy’s mother cuts the umbilical cord. The next morning, the nurse brings in the baby to nurse. Ray says I am not nursing the baby. Lucy gives the baby a bottle and tenderly holds her as Ray watches.Then she and her mother leave the room as Rays mother comes in.
Later In the hall Sister Joanna is talking to a group of people around the door where Elizabeth was. She sees Lucy and goes over to say that she wants to talk to her. There is inaudible conversation and Lucy starts to scream.” What do you want me to do? what do you want me to do? that is my fucking baby. that baby is mine. that fucking baby is mine.” She runs to Rays room, and she is restrained. Cops rush out, they hold her down, and she viciously fights them but they overcome her.
Lucy and her mother are at home. Lucy says if God wanted me to be a mother he would have made me one. the mother says there will be another one…Lucy says,” until someone comes to take it away.” The doorbell rings, and it is Sister Joanna. Lucy is very angry. Sister Joanna tells her there is another baby…a little girl..there is a waiting list, but sister Joanna has arranged that Lucy can have the baby if she wants. Lucy says, “they will take it away from her”. Sister Joanna says,” no, there is no one…sometimes it happens that there is no one. and there is no one.” But Lucy hesitates. Sister Joanna says, “Lucy, you and this baby have crossed paths today. Its your chance and if you give it up it will be forever.” Lucy takes Elizabeths baby girl.
It is one year later. A young nun finds an envelope with no name on it. She takes it to Sister Joanna who opens it, and says,” We have a birthdate”. Going to the computer, Nov 7,1973 reveals Elizabeths letter, and Sister Joanna calls Karen.
That night she is crying…and says to Paco,” why did you tell me to look for her.? She has been dead for over a year. Before I always imagined and thought of her. She was alive, but now that is taken from me.”
Sister Joanna says the adoptive mother will allow a visit, but Karen needs to know that she has no legal claims on the child, as legally she was not Elizabeths mother. Karen wants to know if she can see the
child more than once, and will the child know who she is.? That is all up to the mother.
She sets off for the visit. She doesn’t need her car. It is walking distance from her own home. Lucy and Ella are in the front yard and it is a joyous time. The child that is selected for this scene happens to be at least 2 to 3 years old.She skips and plays with Karen,and kisses her. Karen puts her mothers locket on Ella, which Meija gave back when she left.
. Lucy is happy with Karen,and we know this is going to be a continued relationship.
That night Karen kisses her husband and thanks him and night falls.
This is told in many brief scenes which move back and forth between the 3 women. A scene can be just one shot…less than a minute,and we move to the other. Each story is told with detail,care and a meticulous insight into the development and conflicts of Karen, Elizabeth and Lucy. It is very much in style of In Treatment…equal stories, all told with passion.
Theodor Reiks quote gave you this story in 15 words. This movie elaborates on how strong that bond is.Sometimes fraught with pain, and sometimes blessed with love, it is inescapable.Explore posts in the same categories: Movies