Somebody’s Mother Image

Somebody’s Mother

By Alan Ng | May 28, 2020

Tollman’s film is about grieving and the profound effect it has on young mothers. Somebody’s Mother goes down the checklist of the most extreme behaviors and circumstances in each stage. Title cards signify transitions from one stage to the next for Claire. During the denial stage, Claire attends a friend’s baby shower, and as a good drama, this is the worst situation to place her in. Jealousy for the new mother only intensifies her anxiety, and she panics. Throughout the film, Claire engages in extreme behaviors because she’s lost and trying to find ways to cope with her grief and emotions on her own.

The B-story follows Anna. It plays out slowly as her issues come to light near the end of the film. Anna serves as a steady foundation for Claire’s breakdown, but even that winds up taking a toll on Anna’s personal life. Her story is a contrast to Claire’s as Anna has a child. As much as Claire loved the son she lost, Anna is just as indifferent to the one she has. This indifference plays out in an equally harrowing way to Claire’s experience.


They bring authenticity to their characters, which keeps the story grounded.”

Somebody’s Mother pulls no punches. It takes both Claire and Anna through the wringer and places them in extremely distressing situations to get them to behave and struggle in the worst way. Claire’s marriage to Michael (Brian Donovan) is pushed to its limits. The point is to get us to empathize with people in grief rather than be turned off by their behavior and understand that what they do is a symptom of a more significant problem.

This film only works because of its performances by Gabriele and Evelyne Tollman. They bring authenticity to their characters, which keeps the story grounded. In less capable hands, the film would have turned into an overdramatic soap opera. Being so grounded makes Somebody’s Mother a tough watch for us emotionally because it gets dark and deep. It takes you deep down into despair before, and thankfully, it brings hope. Life is hard, but there is hope.

Somebody's Mother (2016)

Directed: Gabriela Tollman

Written: Gabriela Tollman, Evelyne Tollman

Starring: Gabriela Tollman, Evelyne Tollman, Brian Donovan, James Tumminia, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Somebody's Mother Image

"…‘getting over it’ is never the quick answer to loss…"

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