British drama Mrs. Lowry and Son reminded me of the type of Oscar-bait film that tries to run so hard it trips over its own shoelaces.
Meant to be a psychological drama about artist L.S. Lowry and the way he deals with his mother. consistently belittling his work, isn’t interesting or sublime. It’s boring, and that’s saying something considering who is involved.
If there’s one thing to be said, it’s that I don’t think I’ve purely disliked a character so much as I did Mrs. Lowry (Vanessa Redgrave) in quite some time. The actress is masterful here, managing to make me absolutely sick of watching her, despite her incredible pedigree. I yearned to find small moments when she wasn’t on-screen.
Timothy Spall, as L.S., deals with his mother’s abusive nature. He takes care of her after his father died and left creditors looming. But what could be seen as honourable, noble or loving to take care of his mum in her old age just left me cringing.
Spall is creepy, weak and intensely depressing. He’s not an enjoyable character, and because we cannot understand him or his intentions, we cannot care for this film.
The performances are perfect, as two of my favourites have made themselves entirely unlikeable, which is a feat in itself. But where Lance Henriksen was pure evil in Falling, last night’s gala, we at least had someone to identify with in Mortensen.
Mrs. Lowry is a despicable human, and L.S., well, he sits at her bedside like a more desperate Norman Bates, with none of the tension of intrigue that made the Hitchcockian thriller work.
With neither Lowry or her son offering anything of redeeming value, we’re left with a picture about two miserable people who, quite frankly, aren’t worth watching at all.
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