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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


The Good Mother
Directed by Leonard Nimoy
Buena Vista Home Entertainment 11/88 DVD/VHS Feature Film

This film is based on Sue Miller's bestselling 1986 novel. Screenwriter Michael Bortman has done a commendable job bringing this story to the screen with all its dramatic dynamite and psychological insights intact. Anna Dunlap, a piano teacher who works part-time at a college laboratory, is divorced from Brian, a lawyer. She has custody of Molly, their young daughter. Her life is changed when she falls in love with Leo, a sculptor who helps her become a passionate person. But the price of her sexual liberation turns out to be very high. Brian questions her new lifestyle and accuses Leo of sexually molesting Molly. He sues Anna for custody of their daughter. Director Leonard Nimoy draws out gutsy performances from Diane Keaton as Anna and a vibrant, richly textured one from Liam Neeson as Leo. In an interview, Nimoy has stated: "The picture's a Rorschach test. Some will see it as a cautionary tale — she did wrong and was punished. Others will say it's unreal that this should happen in our civilization." The film is the kind of drama which compels moviegoers to re-examine their own feelings and belief's about children's exposure to adult sexuality. It also indirectly challenges our society's growing reliance upon courts to settle complicated private ethical matters.


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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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