"Marred by Lewd Content and Political Correctness"
Based on the novel WHATEVER MAKES YOU HAPPY by William Sutcliffe, OTHERHOOD stars Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette and Felicity Huffman as three best friends struggling to find their identity beyond just being a mother.
Carol, Gillian and Helen have been friends since their sons were in middle school. Their homes are covered with photos of family trips, playdates, and adventures they shared together. Now, their sons are in their thirties living their individual lives in New York City. In the opening scene of the movie, it also just so happens to be Mother’s Day.
The mothers have been waiting patiently for their boys to call and wish them a happy Mother’s Day, but not one son calls. When Carol confesses, she sent a bouquet of flowers to herself with her son’s name on it, the mothers decide it’s time to pay an unexpected visit to their sons. Each mother wants to be needed again and rekindle a relationship with their son. Furthermore, they want to know what their sons are up to as they get few updates on their adult lives these days. The women pack their bags and head to New York City to stay with their sons for a few days in hopes to become closer. When they arrive without warning they are in for a rude awakening.
When Carol shows up at her son’s apartment, she’s horrified to find a pair of women’s lacy, pink underwear on his couch. As she continues her stay there, against his best wishes, she witnesses her son coming home drunk with an underage girl. Then, she finds out her son has lied about his career and is an art director for a pornographic magazine for men.
When Gillian shows up at her son Daniel’s house, she’s exposed to his unhealthy drinking habits, which started because his girlfriend he was going to ask to be his wife cheated on him. Gillian reminds him she told him not to date somebody that wasn’t Jewish. She immediately sets him up on a blind date with a Jewish girl. The date goes terribly wrong as the movie subtly implies mothers don’t always know best, and sometimes children have to learn on their own.
When Helen, the fashionable, prissy one in the trio, shows up at her son’s house, she’s stunned when her son’s homosexual boyfriend answers the door. That night her son comes out to her that he’s homosexual. Helen is hurt he never told her until now and is angry he told his father before her. She spews harsh, critical jabs at him and his lifestyle. Then, she feels guilty and breaks down in tears on the couch. Later in the movie, Helen finds out her homosexual son gave his sperm to a lesbian couple and they have a child, his child! She’s devastated when she realizes she doesn’t know this grandchild. She realizes her judgmental behavior distanced her son from her, and she may have known all of this information sooner if she was gentler with her son.
The trip to New York is a far cry from what the women expects. The mothers realize their sons love them, but they don’t need them. They are grown men who can make their own life decisions. Each woman comes to term with the fact they need to find their own passions, aside from their children.
OTHERHOOD has an uplifting ending, but the storyline has some serious flaws. The scenes feel more like ideas or stereotypes, and the relationships don’t seem believable. The sons are described as best friends, but the boys never hang out, and, when they are together, their chemistry is awkward and unnatural. Even the three women don’t always act like true best friends. The women say some very hurtful things to each other, which doesn’t seem a likely way best friends would communicate. They also yell at each other in public and don’t’ tell their friend, Carol, that her husband had an affair on her until he’s deceased. The individual mothers are interesting to watch, but it’s hard to believe they would ever be friends. In addition to their relationship, the sons’ characters are poorly cast. The men seem more like stereotypes than actual people.
OTHERHOOD has a light moral worldview about a mother’s love for her child, but it mars the storyline’s positive elements with cheap laughs and inappropriate humor. Also, the movie takes a very strong politically correct stance regarding the subplot about the homosexual son. Finally, OTHERHOOD promotes sexual immorality and contains nudity, heavy drinking, some strong foul language, excessive alcohol abuse, and dysfunctional family situations.
OTHERHOOD follows the journey of three overbearing mothers. After their sons forget to call them on Mother’s Day, they travel to New York City to surprise their adult sons with a visit. The mothers long to feel needed again, but when they arrive in New York, their sons want nothing to do with them. They are grown men, and although they love their mothers, they have adult lives of their own. Over the course of the trip, the women discover it’s not their sons who need to change, but themselves.
Based on a novel by William Sutcliffe, OTHERHOOD is an entertaining comedy with rich female centered characters, but the storyline has some serious flaws. The sons are described as best friends, but the boys never hang out together. Also, when they are together, their chemistry is awkward. Even the three women don’t always act like true best friends. OTHERHOOD has a light moral worldview about a mother’s love for her child, but it mars its positive elements with cheap laughs, inappropriate humor, distasteful lewd scenes, homosexual references, and excessive alcohol abuse.