Mothering Sunday

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

5/5 (1)

Eva Husson directs the staid British drama “Mothering Sunday.” The film engages and entertains and although you can see what it has in store, the acting compels your interest, especially in regard to the lead role. Devoted moviegoers have seen this kind of film before from the canon of Merchant Ivory, but it still comforts the eye.

In the period of the 1920s, Jane (Odessa Young) is a young maid who loves literature. She is having a passionate affair with the self-centered Paul (Josh O’ Connor). Paul likes her but he is reserved and not enamored. To him, Jane is an ego boost, but he likes her bohemian edge. Paul is promised to the icy Emma (Emma D’Arcy). Finally reaching his limit in rebellion, Paul tells Jane that she can show herself out. She, a free spirit, resolves to take her time leaving, walking naked along the library and eating a vegetable pie.

Jane eventually meets and falls in love with Donald (Sope Dirisu) a black philosopher. The two are enamored through love, respect, and writing.

This story centers on the struggle of young love and guilt. Jane yearns for creative love, finally finding it when she is older.

This film has many echoes of Ismail Merchant productions, particularly in its depiction of the upper class. Jane is made to feel disposable, a fourth wheel. The elite are shown glazed in brightness, aloof and untouchable.

When the film reaches the very end, the septuagenarian Jane (Glenda Jackson) is happily indifferent, free from her ghosts.

Though its melancholic tone is well recognizable, “Mothering Sunday” is still worthy of visual indulgence. The sight of a young Jane Fairchild gliding nude through a library conjures visions of a literary Garden of Eden, a paradise in solitude.

Write Ian at

Ratings & Comments