Watch Mother

"No Actual Mothers Were Harmed During The Making Of This Motion Picture."
  • PG-13
  • 1996
  • 1 hr 44 min
  • 6.9  (6,707)
  • 76

Mother is a comedy-drama film, released in 1996, that explores a strained, yet loving, relationship between a son and his overbearing mother. The film stars Albert Brooks as John Henderson, a successful science fiction writer from Los Angeles who decides to move back to his childhood home in New York after his second marriage fails. Upon returning home, John finds himself constantly bombarded by his mother's (played by Debbie Reynolds) overbearing nature and unrelenting questions about his love life.

The story starts with John's second failed marriage that leaves him emotionally exhausted and seeking comfort from his mother. John had lost his father at a young age, and he found solace in his mother's embrace. But after his wife leaves him, John starts to revisit his memories of his own upbringing and how his mother had shaped his choices in life. From a fragile and touching opening, the movie heads into a hilarious emotional ride that balances between comedy and pathos.

As John is living with his mother again, he starts to notice that his mother has a memory problem. John decides to take his mother to several doctors, but they all tell him that there is nothing wrong with her. In a desperate attempt to connect with his mother and learn more about her, John starts to question his mother's friends and family, leading him down a rabbit hole of revelations about his past.

Mother is a masterclass in observational comedy. Brooks, who also directed the film, drew from his real-life experiences with his own mother to create the character of Beatrice Henderson. Reynolds is pitch-perfect as a lovably quirky mother who shows love through nagging and excessive questioning. The chemistry between the two is what keeps the film going from beginning to end. Beatrice's constant nagging and need for attention eventually becomes too much for John, leading to several explosive arguments that are both funny and poignant.

One of the standout scenes in the film is when John swears in front of his mother for the first time. It's a hilarious sequence that highlights the generation gap between the two and the changes that have occurred in society. John feels guilty for cursing in front of his mother, and Beatrice, in turn, is confused and disappointed by his behavior. The scene encapsulates the central theme of the movie - that John and Beatrice come from different worlds and have different ways of expressing themselves, but ultimately they love each other deeply.

Another fascinating aspect of Mother is the way it reveals John's deeper past. His mother is the only surviving member of his family, and he never knew his father. Through a series of conversations and memories, John learns more about his family's history, including things that his mother kept hidden from him for years. This leads to a deeper understanding of his upbringing, and some of the motivations behind his current status quo.

The film's final act, which includes a climactic scene between John and Beatrice, is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Their relationship has reached a breaking point, and they must confront the issues that have kept them apart. Reynolds brings a level of pathos to her performance that is unexpected, given the film's comedic tone. The final confrontation between the two characters is a moving moment that cements the bond between them.

In conclusion, Mother is a charming and hilarious film that explores the complex nature of family relationships. Featuring standout performances from Albert Brooks and Debbie Reynolds, the film depicts the ups and downs of a mother-son bond with humor and heart. With sharp writing and an emotional core, it remains a beloved favorite decades after its release.

Mother is a 1996 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 44 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9 and a MetaScore of 76.

Where to Watch Mother
Mother is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Mother for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 44 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (6,707)
  • Metascore