MY MOTHER LIKES WOMEN written and directed by Daniela Fejerman and Inés París, produced by Fernando Colomo, Beatriz de la Gándara, with Leonor Watling, Rosa María Sardà, María Pujalte and Silvia Abascal. 96 minutes. A Mongrel Media release. Opens Friday (June 18). For venues and times, see Movie listings, page 90. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
The best reason to see my mother Likes Women is to watch rising Spanish star Leonor Watling. Since this film was made two years ago, she has had featured roles in My Life Without Me, the last two Almodóvar films, Talk To Her and Bad Education, and the female lead in the excellent Ecuadorean thriller Crónicas, which premiered at Cannes this year.
In My Mother Likes Women, Watling plays Elvira, the middle sister of the film's trio of grown women who discover, to their horror, that their mother, a concert pianist in her late 50s, has suddenly taken up with a young Czech woman after a lifelong history of heterosexuality.
Watling's performance is a comic triumph worthy of Diane Keaton in her Woody Allen days. Elvira's too insecure to quit her low-paying job for an independent publisher and devote herself to her writing. She's rattled by her therapist, who seems more interested in maintaining her low self-esteem than improving it, and badgered by her sisters to sleep with her mother's lover to drive them apart.
With this set-up, you only wish that the writer-director team of Daniela Fejerman and Inés París were a little more interested in the horrific comedy of family drama and a little less in the hugging and learning.
My Mother Likes Women sets up for outrageous, Almodóvar-like farce and then retires from the field, sinking slowly into a sort of Lifetime Channel movie of the week that teaches valuable life lessons about tolerance.
Fejerman and París are very good with actors. The three sisters actually feel like a family even though they don't bear much resemblance to each other, and the family scenes have a bustling intimacy. Even grown up, the sisters seem to have spent far too much time occupying the same space.
But the only thing I can say about the film's Circle Of Life finale is, "Eeeeeew."