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Mom and Me is directed by Irish filmmaker Ken Waldrop, known for 2009 documentary His & Hers. With Mom and Me he continues to film women telling their own stories. Be careful not to trip over the yards of umbilical cord in this documentary about mothers and their adult sons.
Mom and Me employs local radio host Joe Cristano to invite the men of Oklahoma (designated the most manly US state) to phone in and talk about their mothers. This of course is staged, but provides neat segues for the purpose of the film. It also blurs the line between film and podcast, making this documentary a good fit for fans of The Moth and This American Life. Perhaps the fact that so many of us are getting hooked on podcasts will lead the format to spill into documentary filmmaking more.
Amy Schumer does a bit in The Leather Special about the mothers of all her past boyfriends: That they all seem mildly put out by her existence in the role of girlfriend, like (I’m paraphrasing) ‘Aw shucks, you know, I always thought that I would end up with him.’ There is evidence of that sentiment at several points during Mom and Me. That’s one of the reasons I approached this film with a raised eyebrow. Midwestern Moms and their beloved sons? Retch. But that was unfair of me, as the film is pretty absorbing, with so many telling little interactions. Fascinating for anyone interested in the human condition. Freud would have had a field day with this one.
The men, in the presence of their mothers, are all still children. Waldrop puts older women in the spotlight, which is a positive step as all too often women are pushed into the margins as they age. In spite of the awkwardness in some of the more staged interactions, this film has depth. Every so often some small gesture or comment will cut right to your heart. Funny and poignant throughout.