Picks and Pans Review: The Mother

updated 06/14/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/14/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Anne Reid, Daniel Craig
CRITIC'S CHOICE

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Grandmothers have sex too. You just don't see it pictured on screen much. Here's your chance—one well worth taking.

In this compassionate drama about love and family and making a place for oneself, May's husband dies while the older couple are visiting their adult offspring in London. May (Reid) stays on, not wanting to return to her smalltown home alone. She soon befriends Darren (Craig), the vagabond carpenter who's renovating her son's home and dating her daughter. She makes him tea. After May glimpses Darren shirtless, tea isn't the only thing being stirred between the two.

With an appreciation for the vexing complexities of human relations, The Mother shows how desperately we all want to connect and how impossibly difficult that can sometimes be, even with family. Director Roger Michell (Changing Lanes) and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi have crafted a film that's moving without being mawkish. Reid, an English actress little known in the U.S., is pitch-perfect as May, a woman who has never asked herself until now what it is that she wants. Craig is equally impressive as Darren, not shying away from showing his character's weaknesses as well as his ingratiating charm. (R)

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