Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Mother's Day Adoption Movie Review
Sandy, a recently-divorced mother, must navigate sharing her mothering role with her ex-husband’s new wife. After Dana dies, her husband and two daughters prepare for their first Mother’s Day without her. Jesse has hidden her cross-cultural marriage and children from her estranged, racist mother. Kristin is a new mother; she has not married her boyfriend because she fears committing to a permanent attachment, and this stems from the fact that she was adopted at birth, and never knew her birth mother. *SPOILERS AHEAD* At the advice of a friend, Kristin sets off to try to find her birth mother, who ends up being a famous celebrity. Although her birth mother initially is not receptive, she privately comes to Kristin and begins to invest in her life, which allows Kristin to find the closure she needs in order to move on into marriage.
The Adoption Connection
Kristin was adopted as an infant. The absence of knowledge of her birth mother has had a profound impact on her personality development. The birth of her own child brings the absence of her mother more immediately to her awareness, and she sets off to find her. Kristin explains, “I have no idea who the hell I am. I was adopted and never met my biological mother.” Kristin has kept her adoption a secret, and has only ever told her best friend and her boyfriend. Kristin wonders, “Did she just throw me away, or is there a reason she got rid of me? I have attachment issues.” Kristin has located her mother, but has been too scared to contact her.
Jesse’s sister Gabby has adopted the sperm-donor-conceived son of her partner.
*SPOILERS AHEAD* Kristin’s birthmother Miranda is asked whether she has any kids, and says that she does not – that instead, her career has kept her busy. Eventually, Kristin and Miranda meet, and Miranda shares the story of how she met Kristin’s birthfather. Miranda shares that her parents pulled her out of school for a year, never looked at her the same again, and did not allow her to choose to keep Kristin. She explains that Kristin has always been on her mind, and that Kristin’s adoptive parents sent her a picture of Kristin every year. Kristin asks why Miranda never contacted her, and Miranda explained that that was part of the agreement in the adoption. Miranda explains that she never remarried or had children because she did not want to replace her high school boyfriend or her daughter. Miranda meets her granddaughter and Kristin’s boyfriend, and helps Kristin propose to her boyfriend.
Kristin has a supportive friend who reacts well to her confiding her story of adoption.
Kristin is able to learn the story that led to her adoption.
Several characters have lied about their lives and identities, and in most cases we see that the secrecy has caused more pain, and that openness allows for growth and healing.
Kristin is initially shunned by her birthmother’s assistants when she tries to contact her; that could be painful for some.
Jesse’s parents are caricatured, and say plenty of cringe-inducing, hurtful things to their daughters.
Mother’s Day has been panned by critics for being manipulative and unoriginal, but it does provide an opportunity to think about the impact of secrecy on relationships, and the storyline that follows
Kristin as she seeks to reunify with her birthmother is certainly relevant to adoption audiences, and is actually pretty positive. Mother’s Day seems like a worthwhile choice for adults; it does not seem likely to appeal to kids.
Questions for Discussion
If Miranda had not sought out Kristin, would Kristin’s search to find her still have been worthwhile?
The secrecy surrounding Kristin’s adoption might have been intended, in part, to benefit Kristin and Miranda. How did it actually impact Kristin and Miranda?
How could the issues of confidentiality and privacy in Kristin's adoption have been handled in a less damaging way?