Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Mother-Daugher Relationships


Mid-week has come and gone, and it's time for another entry in Wandering through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. This week we're talking Mother-Daughter Relationships.

Man, did I get to know that relationship growing up!

I never got to meet my mother's mother. She died about four years before I was born. But the sweet and bitter of her relationship to my mother and all my mother's five sisters is ingrained in me. I know the mother-daughter relationship from a past perspective just as I know it through movies. To know my own mother is to know mothers and daughters. To have a younger sister and to see her relationship with our mother is to know mothers and daughters on yet another level.

Many movies portray the mother-daughter relationship. I have focused on the first three that came to me. These are movies driven pretty much entirely by the mother-daughter relationship.


Here are my Thursday Movie Picks:

"Terms of Endearment" (James L. Brooks, 1983)



Aurora Greenway is one of the most fascinating movie characters in my movie memory. An Oscar-winning role from the legendary Shirley MacLaine, she is the sort of mother who rules by criticism and passive-aggressive down talk. But she LOVES her daughter, Emma (Debra Winger). "Terms of Endearment" is the first feature film from director James L. Brooks. He had been in the game for years as a TV writer and producer. Then, this, a beautiful film, for which he, alone, took home three Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay). Based on a novel by Larry McMurtry ("The Last Picture Show", "Lonesome Dove"), this movie spans thirty plus years in life of a beautiful, but aging, Texas woman and her daughter and the men they love. The men are brilliantly portrayed by a young, skinny Jeff Daniels and the funniest (Oscar-winning) Jack Nicholson there has ever been.

"Thirteen" (Catherine Hardwicke, 2003)



This movie tortured me. The directorial debut of long-time production designer Catherine Hardwicke and co-written by Hardwicke and her step-daugther, Nikki Reed, "Thirteen" is the kind of movie that just came out of nowhere, roughed me up real good, and then I never saw it again. Not that I need to. Once is probably enough. And I mean that in a good way. At the center of this story is the single mother, a hairdresser named Melanie, played by Oscar-nominee Holly Hunter. Her daughter, Tracy (Wood), is in middle school. She's a "good girl." Until she makes a friend in a girl named Evie (Nikki Reed), the type of girl that my mother would've referred to as "too advanced" for her age. Evie is ready to try it all (sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, piercings, skimpy clothes). Of course, this all becomes too much for Mom and a some major breakdowns and breakthroughs occur. There is more real life in this movie than there is in real life sometimes. I applaud it for that and will never forget it.

"Wild" (Jean-Marc Valée, 2014)



Just this past New Year's Day, my wife and I went to see a much-anticipated new movie with Reese Witherspoon called "Wild." It struck me as a movie of one of my favorite kind, the "soul-searching" movie. It succeeds as that and so much more. Perhaps the most beautiful part of this film is the catalyst for all the "soul-searching." A daughter's remembrance of her mother. "Wild" is the true life story of a woman named Cheryl Strayed (Witherspoon) and her quest to hike the thousand-mile Pacific Coast Trail. Always on her mind is her mother, Bobbi (Laura Dern), and the music she remembers from growing up. The performances from Dern and Witherspoon are as top-notch as they come, and the way this story is woven together so perfectly really charges up the mother-daughter power. Just a perfect movie.

For my full review of "Wild," click here

24 comments:

  1. I picked Terms of Endearment as well, the mother-daughter relationship is a strong one despite weathering many storms, mostly caused by Aurora's difficult personality.

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  2. I also picked Thirteen. I immediately thought of that film when I saw this theme. It's perfect. Great picks!

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    1. That movie hit me hard. I watched it twice in one day and never watched it again.

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  3. I hoped to see Wild asap, Laura Dern looks terrific but I haven't got any glimpse of it.

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  4. Haven't seen any of these. Just haven't gotten to Wild to finish up my run 2014 flicks. Judging by how many times it's gotten picked this week, Thirteen is a must-see. I actually have 2 daughters, 14 & 12, so it should be a fun night at the Dell household.

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    1. Thirteen is a must see (but only once). It certainly serves a purpose if you have girls that age, which you do. I actually wouldn't mind seeing a middle school girl react to that movie. You have to do a post about your daughters' reactions and the conversation if you really do show them this flick. I would so love that!

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  5. Thirteen is so great. I LOVED Wild - I'm surprised it didn't get more love from people. Really a beautiful film in so many ways, and the best performance Reese has given in a LONG time.

    I haven't seen Terms of Endearment. I have failed at life.

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    1. Wild easily made my top ten of last year. Love Reese Witherspoon's work in it.

      Terms of Endearment is tear-jerker mecca, man. Do it!

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  6. I need to see Wild, but I hear that it's great and that the best parts involve the mother/daughter dynamic, so I can't wait to see it.

    Thirteen is a great choice, and Terms, while obvious, is also such a great representation of the theme.

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    1. I loved Wild. Would love to hear your thoughts on it.

      Thanks. Thirteen seems to have made a few lists today. It hit me so hard. Terms of Endearment is like the first time I remember crying during a movie. My Mom sat us down and put that thing on. So good!

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  7. I haven't seen Wild but have it on my list to see soon.

    Terms is a great pick and I'm not surprised to see it turn up on so many list. I saw it in the theatre originally, it was a huge hit so it was packed and by the end there were a LOT of crying people. Apparently that was a common situation, my sister saw it across the country from me, she was pregnant at the time and had to leave before the end because she got so upset by it, and she said the audience she saw it with were in the same condition by the end.

    I know it has its fans but I hated Thirteen, but it's a good pick for the theme.

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    1. Wild is definitely one of the best pretty major releases of last year.

      Terms of Endearment holds such a special place in my heart. One of my first tear jerkers as a kid.

      I wouldn't actually call myself a fan of Thirteen. It's not one you revisit much. But it works as a powerful observation of amped up young teen behavior. I teach middle school. That shit is real.

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  8. Love the inclusion of Wild! The relationship between the two was so rich there and Laura Dern really did so much even with such short screen time, you felt her presence throughout the film

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    1. You're so right. Laura Dern's Oscar nom was one of my favorite things about this year's Oscars. Such a huge presence is such a small amount of time.

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  9. Great post, Kevin! I haven't seen Wild yet, but I couldn't agree more about the other two.

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  10. Thoughtful picks.
    I didn't really pay too much attention to the relationship in Wild (I'd read the book a while back and didn't much care for the narrator, so I was trying to be more open minded about that) so was surprised when Dern got a nomination. Obviously you (and others) did pick up on it, so it's very cool that you included it here.

    J
    (assholeswatchingmovies.com)

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    1. Thanks.

      The mother-daughter relationship was second only to the Simon and Garfunkel motif as my favorite things about Wild. Sucks it didn't work for you the same way.

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  11. I knew Nikki Reed co-wrote Thirteen but I didn't know she is Hardwicke's stepdaughter.
    I watched Thirteen when I was teen; thought it was quite a cool movie, but probably in a way teens probably think movies about bad behaving teens are cool and challenging. Haven't seen it since then so I don't know how it holds up.

    Wandering through the Shelves

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    1. Yeah. I saw it when I was probably 20. It shook me to my core. I really saw middle school in a new light after that one. Now, I teach kids that age, and it just hits so close in many cases. Kids grow up fast. That movie is true to that.

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  12. I haven't seen any of your picks, but they all sound interesting. Wild and Thirteen have been in my watch list, hopefully I get around to them soon. Great picks!

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    1. Thanks. Yes. All of these movies are interesting in many different ways.

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