Carlye Rubin and Katie Green’s exploration of coping with the death of a mother debuted at Florida’s Silver Springs fest last month. It has also screened at Sarasota and the Santa Fe, Catskill Mountains, and Crossroads fests prior to its cable debut.
Rubin and Green’s project elucidates the complex feelings and sense of loss experienced by women whose mothers died in their daughters’ adolescence or earlier. Signaled by its title, the film aims to show the commonality between disparate women, who become, as executive producer and interview subject Rosie O’Donnell notes, the unwilling members of an unofficial and often unspoken club through this life-changing experience – one that carries significant import in the rest of their lives. The filmmakers profile three younger woman – a high school senior weighing college options, an artist experiencing pregnancy for the first time, and a new mother who fears she carries the same gene that resulted in her mother’s breast cancer – while offering the reflections of three older, celebrity viewpoints – O’Donnell, Molly Shannon, and Jane Fonda – who all shared this early trauma. By its nature, this split focus means that the viewer only gets a small sense of any one subject. While they’re all sympathetic figures, and not to detract from the reality of their loss, there’s one subject too many among the younger women – Ginger, the artist, provides some visual variety through her artwork, but otherwise feels the most forced in being included here, with at least one section of her story so focused on her work that the connection to her mother is completely absent. In contrast, each of the celebrities, largely because they are older and have had decades to work through their loss, prove more enlightening and affecting.