Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
Watch On
  1. 100
    A flawless film of heartrending realism about the eternal chord that binds parents and children and the emptiness when they are separated.
  2. 88
    The film is founded on three performances by Annette Bening, Kerry Washington and Naomi Watts. All have rarely been better.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    An insightfully observed and exceptionally acted ensemble piece precisely about what the title suggests.
  4. The force of the acting alone almost compensates for some of the more difficult (and realistic) questions about not giving birth that García willfully sidesteps.
  5. Still, the goodwill lingers, even though Mother and Child falls down, dies and is beginning to look a little green and stiff about 15 minutes before the finish line.
  6. 75
    High praise for the movie Mother and Child: It's as good as a TV show. Although it's not as fine as HBO's "In Treatment," a show run by this movie's writer-director, Rodrigo Garcia.
  7. 75
    In Mother and Child, he (Rodrigo Garcia) creates an emotional powerhouse.
  8. 75
    Garcia shoots Mother And Child with minimal flare, an approach that keeps the focus squarely on the cast, whose moving work helps pave over some of the narrative’s lumpier patches.
  9. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Mother and Child is as tangled as the emotions that link parents and children.
  10. Garcia's calm, steady guidance behind the camera, along with his nicely finessed faith in a very good cast, makes Mother and Child a fuller and more satisfying example of this storytelling style than we've seen lately.
  11. While on its face, Mother and Child is about the impact of adoption, in its heart Garcia's movie reckons how consequential motherhood is in the calculus of womanhood. The fine actors show how we bond to those not related to us by blood - and also how we love. Bring Kleenex.
  12. 75
    Something like a finely-written and -acted soap opera. That isn’t death, but it’s less like life than you’d hope.
  13. Unfortunately, Garcia can't quite resist sentimentality, giving us an ending that's a bit too emotionally neat. Still, Mother and Child is a thoughtful and provocative film about the way we live now.
  14. If nothing else, Garcia's movie is a brave one, with its unflinching look at adoption, which -- as overwhelmingly compassionate an act as it is -- often leaves behind deep emotional scars.
  15. 75
    Mother and Child is depressively interesting, with characters constantly ruining their best chances at happiness.
  16. Mother and Child is suffused with grief and loss. It’s also suffused with compassion and insight.
  17. 70
    Garcia, despite creating yet another vibrant canvas for his actors, deflects the burden of this toughest and most modern of familial conundrums, offering instead the bland, regressive ideal of motherhood as not only redemptive but required.
  18. Very few actual mothers will appreciate the manipulative ending, which even a child could spot coming an hour away.
  19. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    The movie unfolds with novelistic pacing for a leisurely but engaging two hours.
  20. 70
    This is well worth seeing for Bening's arresting, unpleasant performance.
  21. Eventually, all of the stories will come together in a somewhat contrived way. The film's parts are greater than the whole. But the parts are worth the effort.
  22. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    When it comes to family togetherness, love and quality time are thicker than blood, water or just about any other social glue you can think of. That's the admirable if hardly news-breaking message of Rodrigo Garcia's domestic drama Mother and Child, whose official thread is the impact of adoption on three different women.
  23. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mother and Child glows for a good 90 minutes before an increasing reliance on contrivance and coincidence makes the lamp flicker and then fizzle out.
  24. Annette Bening is the most pivotal character in the movie, both angry and scared.
  25. Some may find the film overly schematic, but Garcia smartly uses three parallel narratives to probe the extraordinary nature of motherhood.
  26. A believably unbalanced Bening scores the movie’s true coup: Karen’s revitalizing relationship with a sweetly persistent coworker (Jimmy Smits) is a rare example of Hollywood doing right by midlife romance.
  27. 60
    You may not quite trust Mother and Child -- its soft spots and fuzzy edges give it away -- but you can believe just about everyone in it.
  28. The hothouse drama Mother and Child is organized like a femme-friendly spa that specializes in treatments for the psyche rather than the skin. Soft New Agey music tinkles intrusively. Sore spots are prodded and massaged. Clients pass one another in the changing room. The ritual is exquisite to some, and excruciating to others.
  29. 50
    Garca brings his finely calibrated sense of drama to the subject of adoption, which he handles with characteristic restraint and insight -- at least until the film's maudlin, too-pat finale. That sharp melodramatic turn is a shame, because so much of what has gone before in Mother and Child is of real quality.
  30. 50
    Mother and Child is good when it takes a harsh, unsparing look at lament and the burdens we carry throughout our lives. Then it goes for your tear ducts, and we're suddenly stranded in Lifetime TV territory.
  31. If the mother-child bond is the core human relationship, then this movie implies that we are an emotionally doomed species, though I do not think this was writer-director Garcia’s intent.
  32. A slow and lugubrious film about the impact of adoption on the lives of three women.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 29 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. Jul 5, 2011
    Some bonds are so strong that when broken the individuals previously connected can no longer function properly. Mother and child explore theSome bonds are so strong that when broken the individuals previously connected can no longer function properly. Mother and child explore the mother and child bond and the effects it has on a woman desperately needing to be a mom and also a woman and her daughter separated at birth. The performances are pitch perfect from Bening, Watts and the remainder of the cast. Full Review »
  2. Oct 22, 2010
    La primera pelicula hollywoodense de la productora Cha-Cha-Cha (fundada por Cuaron, Gonzalez Iarritu y del Toro) es un solido woman's filmLa primera pelicula hollywoodense de la productora Cha-Cha-Cha (fundada por Cuaron, Gonzalez Iarritu y del Toro) es un solido woman's film que, a pesar de un final demasiado convencional, tiene un par de elementos a su favor: la limpia realizacion artesanal de uno de los directores de cabecera de HBO Rodrigo Garcia y un reparto uniformemente competente en el que brilla especialmente Annette Benning en el papel de una seca enfermera cincuentona que no deja que el amor llame a su puerta. Full Review »
  3. Sep 10, 2010
    This is a movie with strong women front and center and much softer men definitely on the perimeter. Benning is incredible, and with her actingThis is a movie with strong women front and center and much softer men definitely on the perimeter. Benning is incredible, and with her acting in "The kids are all right" she ought to at least get the best female actor of the season award. She plays a brittle, socially prickly spinster living with her frail ailing mother. We learn early that she gave up her child at 14, and we are to presume that this has brought her to cope by keeping people at a distance, which she does with great success through the personality of a haughty, reactive, woman with her own arcane sense of social propriety.

    The child she gave up is played by Naomi Watts, who is also a bitter loner who has her mother's genes and the story to match. Naomi's character is far more powerful than Bennings. While Benning is a shrill, cold, arrogant woman who's defensiveness is expressed in attack, Naomi is a control Goddess, who uses her intellectual and sexual power to move men around like pieces on a check board. She seduces her boss (Samuel Jackson in a mellower role) after taking umbrage at his inviting her to dinner alone. The message is clear: "I make the moves here." Then without much of a break she seduces the next door married neighbor. Because she can? Partly, but I suspect mostly to strike back at his wife's pregnancy.

    The third mother in this story is played by Kerry Washington a married woman determined to adopt the child she cannot conceive. The woman whose child she wishes to adopt (played with fierce intensity by Shareeka Epps) is another strong woman. She's not simply giving up a child she's going to arrange it's future environment as much as she can. She doesnâ
    Full Review »