Anyone who thought Calendar Girls bottled it will find this an altogether meatier proposition. Scripted by the congenitally unsentimental Hanif Kureishi, The Mother gives Reid the role of a lifetime as the recently widowed May, who comes down to stay with her middle class son in London and can't find the courage to leave. Even then, it's only her son's friend Darren (Craig) who sees May as a person, not an antiquated nuisance. They become friends and, secretly, lovers. Reid is wonderful, subtly revealing a difficult, longtime repressed woman coming out of her shell under the attentive curiosity of the younger man. Michell treats the sex scenes just so, with frankness, humour and compassion. It's only in the wider social realm that this affair assumes the status of taboo. May's grown children busily set about fixing her up with a likely partner never imagining the object of her real heart's desire lies so close to home. Very handsomely shot, the film exists in an altogether different zone to Michell's Notting Hill - this is a London natives may actually recognise. It's a shame, though, that the melodramatic showdown smacks of nothing more than bad faith.
Cast and crew
Danira Govich Daniel Craig Stephen Mackintosh Peter Vaughan Anna Wilson Jones Cathryn Bradshaw Oliver Ford Davies Anne Reid