'Night Mother (1986)
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Critic Reviews for 'Night Mother
A sobering overwrought drama based on Marsha Norman's Pulitzer Prize-winning play.
Audience Reviews for 'Night Mother
Anne Bancroft and Sissy Spacek not receiving an Oscar nomination for their performances is without a doubt one of the biggest injustices in the History of Cinema, since they give their very best in this harrowing, emotionally devastating adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning play.
In "'night Mother," Jessie Cates(Sissy Spacek) spends her day cleaning the house she shares with her mother(Anne Bancroft). She also labels all of her clothing for various charitable organizations. Once her mother comes home, she asks her where her father's gun is before calmly telling her of her intention to kill herself that night. Sad to say, the rumored intensity of the play "'night Mother" is not on display in this filmed version that does not translate particularly well to the screen as it feels like just another made for television movie of the period. Strange as it may sound, a lot of it comes down to the casting. Both Sissy Spacek and Anne Bancroft are great actresses but their styles are so different that it transcends generations. Spacek is superb giving a very natural, matter of fact performance while Bancroft has to force herself to operate in her territory. Maybe Joanne Woodward would have been a better choice to play the mother in retrospect.
Two acting titans square off in this chamber piece of anger, laughter, disappointed hopes and despair. It's an intense workout for both and they are up to the challenge but it is a grim tale.
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