Otherhood Review – A Charming, Funny, Compelling Look at Mothers and Sons

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Otherhood, a Netflix original, began its streaming release following the premiere screening held at The Egyptian theater in Hollywood where to the enjoyment of invited guests cast members, including Angela Basset and Patricia Arquette, also attended.

Directed and co-written by Cindy Chupack, Otherhood stars Angela Basset, Patricia Arquette, Felicity Huffman, Jake Hoffman, Jake Lacy, Sinqua Walls, Heidi Gardner, Damian Young, Afton Williamson, Frank De Julio, Becki Newton, Mario Cantone, Emily Tremaine and Molly Bernard. Otherhood is based on the novel, “Whatever Makes You Happy” by William Sutcliffe, and adapted by to the screen by Chupack and Mark Andrus.

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Otherhood opens in upstate New York, where three friends, Carol Walker, played by Angela Basset, Gillian Lieberman, played by Patricia Arquette and Helen Halston, played by Felicity Huffman are commiserating being forgotten by their successful sons, each who live in Manhattan, today, Mother’s Day.

One half-bottle of gin between them and a plan is hatched and suddenly the three are piled into Gillian’s Subaru heading down the Henry Hudson Parkway on their way to make their sons remember their value.

Unbeknownst to their mothers, the three sons, Matt Walker, played by Sinqua Walls, Daniel Lieberman, played by Jake Hoffman and Paul Halston, played by Jake Lacey, just the night before piled into a taxi and decided to escort Daniel to his longtime girlfriend’s apartment and as he had the ring encouraged him to seize the moment.

Unfortunately, “the break” they were on proved to the breaking point and with keys in hand he opened the door to find the love of his life with her trainer standing naked at the refrigerator.

With the gloom of a broken relationship, hidden secrets, and the heartache of failed expectations, the sons retreated to their lives and the relationship with their moms was the furthest thing from their minds.

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With Carol, Gillian and Helen closer to Manhattan reality penetrated the plan and the uneasiness of barging in on their grown sons began to overshadow the great rescue. That didn’t stop them from dropping Carol off in Tribeca, in front of Matt’s loft. Helen was next standing outside Paul’s brownstone in Chelsea. And finally, Gillian heads to Long Island City to Jake’s garden apartment.

With the bold plan chilled, Helen and Gillian decide it is impossible to just barge into their lives and as Jake refuses to answer his phone the hotel option is best. Conquering Carol, however, rings the bell and enters . . the man cave.

Much to her son’s chagrin she casually mentions she’d like to stay. To which Matt, the dutiful son replies, “of course just pull the door shut when you leave.”

What follows as each of these well-meaning mothers, unsure how to navigate this new phase in their lives, the empty nest syndrome coupled with the precursors to the expected life changes their adult sons will bring to their lives, has them welcoming and resisting.

The push-pull of life’s inevitable changes has our three “youthful” moms’ on mission to reacquaint themselves with their sons, attempt to maneuver circumstances, get them back on track, remind them of their passions, and finally believing they’ve failed, made a mess of everything, discovered more about themselves then was intended, they just paused, stepped away from the role and finally made the changes that held them back.

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Obviously, and almost without saying, the talented cast elevates this film from mom’s gone mad to a fun family film that welcomes the curves in the road of life and values the love of family, enough to make fools of themselves.

Otherhood is charming, funny and compelling as it examines life’s changes through the eyes of the empty-nester's as they navigate the regulated role of bystander, no longer the decision maker or even the influencer, silently hoping they’ve provided enough guidance that when the fork in the road appears the choice is obvious.

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Following the screening, Netflix held an after-party for invited guests at Liaison. Otherhood star Angela Basset worked the crowd pausing for pictures with everyone who asked. Welcomed with champagne, party-goers enjoyed the music, tray passed hors d oeuvres, a full buffet of hot and cold foods. Celebrating the success of the film, a good time was had by all.

Otherhood began its streaming release Friday, August 4, 2019. See it.

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