After making the highly successful The Realm, which can only be described as a political-corruption movie at breakneck speed, Spanish filmmaker Rodrigo Sorogoyen returns to calmer and deeper if still equally troubled waters with Madre.
The director’s fifth feature is not only inspired by his eponymous 2017 short, which was nominated for an Oscar, but actually incorporates it. The previously existing material — which shows a Madrid mother freaking out, in one long take, when her 6-year-old son calls her to tell her his father has abandoned him on some godforsaken beach — is here used as a 17-minute prologue to a story set 10 years later.
In the feature, the mother has actually moved close to the shore where her son was lost, on the Atlantic Coast in France just north of the Spanish border, to start a new life. If that isn’t enough of an indication that she hasn’t really processed his loss, she strikes up an uneasy friendship with a local French boy who’s about 16, or the age her son would have been by now, and who physically reminds her of him. Though the prologue is all about quickly escalating tension, fear and despair, the feature is more of a slow-burning psychological drama with a deceptively light, Ozon-like touch, as a curious teenager and a traumatized mother who still hasn’t processed her grief enjoy spending time together.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter