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TIFF 2021: “Mothering Sunday”


Rating: 4 out of 5.

From day one of the birth of cinema, romance, love affair and heartbreak have been captured constantly. Each filmmaker tries to bring their own signature way of revealing the deeper meaning of love. “Mothering Sunday” does the same but goes a bit beyond acceptance to deliver something refreshing.

Filled with truly mesmerizing performances from Odessa Young and Josh O’Connor, the film follows, mostly, the life-changing events occurring on Mother’s Day. Jane, who works as a maid for the Nivens (Colin Firth and Olivia Colman), gets a day off. She spends it with Paul, the son of the Nivens’ neighbor, a man of awful wealth who expects to build a family of his own with a woman his parents must approve. Jane is not one of them.

The character-centric story focuses on a romantic day between Paul and Jane, as they explore more of each other, make love, talk and share their most intimate thoughts. Paul is the only surviving child of his parents, therefore, the burden to fulfill the duty is high. The war left a deep mark in his heart making him guilty that somehow he is the only one around. Paul and Jane leave all negative thoughts behind as they enjoy their ideal day in his fancy house. Jane feels the taste of wealth, luxurious life, surrounded by fancy things. But there is something that will happen at the end of the day, changing the course of her future in the most amazing way.

Adapted from Graham Swift’s novel, with the script written by Alice Birch and directed by Eva Husson, you can feel a feminine touch throughout. The exquisite adaptation and storytelling are so organic, the added score makes it even more beautiful and tragic at the same time. The chemistry between Odessa and O’Connor is so organic, their portrayal of Jane and Paul is the definition of being true artists. They go out of their comfort zone to deliver their characters’ attachment to each other, their everlasting love and the outcome of it, which is greater than you can imagine.

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