Review: Mae So Ha Uma (Don’t Call Me Son)

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Review: Mae So Ha Uma (Don’t Call Me Son)

Pierre (Naomi Nero) and his little sister Jacqueline (Lais Dais) live with their widowed mother Arcay (Dani Nefussi). Pierre, a beautiful gender-ambivalent 17-year-old is boring his way through high-school while playing in a garage band, cross-dressing and grunting at his mother. The results of a police-requested DNA test mean the end to family life as he knows it.

It is a story that is unfortunately a very contemporary one. On the Missing Kids UK website, it states that a child is reported missing every three minutes. On the site a lot of the missing children are now adults, and interestingly a lot of them disappeared at about the age of 16, the age when some 16 year olds are ready to run away and establish their own identity. Pierre, aged 17, has been unwittingly found. Just as he is discovering his interior life, his external life explodes. One of the key questions is what does it mean to be connected by blood ties and nothing else?

Mae So Ha Uma, literally translated from Portuguese as There’s Only One Mother, has been released with three different titles that I’m aware of including, Don’t Call Me Son (English) and From One Family To Another (French). In this case, these three sum up most of the themes of the film.

This is writer and director Anna Muylaert’s third feature-film after the award-winning The Second Mother and the story is based on a real event that occurred in Brasilia. Muylaert has a rich background in the Brazilian entertainment industry, as an award-winning writer and director, as well as one of the first female directors to have had overseas film sales.



Director of photography Barbara Alvarez has created a visually intriguing film with the simple ambient sounds – cooking, rain, parties – which introduce us to the story before the image does. Anna Muylaert has created a brilliantly constructed and emotionally-rich story with a great cast. Intriguing, beautiful and provocative.


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An Australian who has spent most of her adult life in Paris, Louise is a sometime photographer, documentary-maker, writer, researcher, day-dreamer and interviewer, who prefers to start the day at the local cinema’s 9am session.

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