Mom + Mom
R1 - America - Strand Releasing
Review written by and copyright: Eric Cotenas (7th November 2019).
The Film

Karole (Antonia.'s Linda Caridi) and Alessia ( Small Homeland 's Maria Roveran) have decided that they want to have a child together. Due to Italy's policies regarding In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) particularly with regard to gay and lesbian couples the pair must travel to Spain for the procedure and have decided to turn their apartment into a bed and breakfast using the spare bedroom frequented by Alessia's actor ex-boyfriend Andrea (Blue Kids' Andrea Tagliaferri) who Alessia regards as "like a cat" who will find any comfortable corner to sleep. After the first attempt at the procedure fails, doubt starts to creep into their relationship. Alessia becomes stressed about the toll the hormone treatments are taking on her body while Karole becomes increasingly impatient with the demands of their guests and the fifth wheel that is Andrea and his various girlfriends making themselves at home, borrowing money, and never cleaning up after themselves while her older fears that Alessia's lesbianism is a phase also resurface. While Alessia takes her frustrations out on Karole and everyone else around her, Karole's anxieties take the form of a series of surreal episodes about the question of whether their child's personality will be the result of their raising him or the background of the anonymous sperm donor. These eventually give way to Karole's memories of her rural childhood, her late father who was accepting of her tomboyish behavior and the village priest who put doubts into her head about her preference to play with boys rather than girls her age. When she takes a couple days away from Alessia and visits home, she finds that things have not improved with her mother who still frets about her daughter not yet settling down with a man while her brother Nicola (Giulio Maroncelli) who has also kept their mother in the dark about his separation is having a hard time coming to terms with his sister's sexuality and her wanting to have a child with her female lover. Her grandfather, on the other hand, proves surprisingly accepting when she confides in him ("Hens only need a rooster for the egg"). While Karole has started on the path of making peace with her own past, can her future with Alessia survive another failed IVF procedure? Based not directly on the autobiographical aspects of director Karole Di Tommaso and her girlfriend Ali as a semi-fictional diary that sprung from the couple's admission that they would like to have a child together even after being together only for a few months, Mom + Mom is more of a domestic drama with comic and surreal touches than Anne Zohra Berrached's more realist and wrenching take on a similar scenario with the German Two Mothers. Indeed, perhaps because it is more of a musing than an account, Mom + Mom is frustratingly too quick to fall back on light-hearted comedy after brief touches of poignancy, being most successful when drama and comedy quietly combine like the adult Karole splitting an omelet sandwich with the aged priest in the confessional or the climax when the film's juxtaposition of handheld waking reality and Steadicam fantasy blurs into a garish themed party thrown by Andrea upon learning of the increased possibility of twins with IVF which we are never quite sure is really happening, and the end credits segue to a cheerful procession of the entire cast down a boulevard further cements that the film is as academic an exercise as the events from which it sprang. If Mom + Mom lacks any true substance as an LGBTQ film work as a 2019 release, it has yet to make the rounds at themed film festivals it at least moves at a nice clip and does not outstay its welcome.

Video

Shot in HD, Mom + Mom translates well to DVD thanks to Strand's high bitrate, progressive, anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen encode in which detail is fair to strong depending on the use of lens flare in sunny summer day exteriors of both past and present as well as the warmly lit interiors and some of cooler, sometimes backlit surreal sequences.
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Audio

The sole audio track is an Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 mix which is generally front-oriented for a talk-heavy film with the stereo channels and surrounds used for music and occasional dream sound effects. Optional English subtitles are provided.
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Extras

There are no exras apart from the film's theatrical trailer (1;41) and trailers for four other films.
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Overall

If Mom + Mom lacks any true substance as an LGBTQ film, it at least moves at a nice clip and does not outstay its welcome.

 


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