Hanif Kureishi's inter-generational love story

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The Mother


This has had more than its share of notoriety thanks to the graphic sex scenes between sixtyish Anne Reid and Daniel Craig. But this has obscured Kureishi’s real interests?the unfairness of age, and the evils family can visit on one another.

When her husband dies on a trip to see their children, something snaps in May (Reid), and she insists on staying with them. She’s treated as an emotional (and eventually literal) punchbag by her resentful daughter, who obsessively chases strapping builder Darren (Craig). The discovery of May’s tea-and-blowjob sessions with the pliant Darren blows the family apart.

Reid’s shags are more appealing than anything Clint or Connery have managed lately, shattering gender prejudices. But the real shock is in the stale poisons her family have stored: director Roger Michell makes May’s first visit to her son’s home more hostile than the punch her daughter later unloads. It’s just a shame such energy doesn’t sustain longueurs elsewhere.