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My Mother Likes Women

(A Mi Madre le Gustan Las Mujeres)

 

Most people here know Spanish actor Leonor Watling from her role in Talk to Her, not realizing that she was already famous in Spain. They probably didn't see what the big deal was, especially since her character was in a coma for most of the film. My Mother Likes Women is a great way to see why people love Watling (My Life Without Me) so much. This film actually came out in Spain before Talk to Her, and Watling gives a wonderfully neurotic comedic performance in it. Think of her as a female version of the character that Ben Stiller typically plays. Watling is Elvira, a woman on the edge of a breakdown. She works as an editor but secretly longs to be a novelist. She hates her boss, has no love life whatsoever, and now discovers that her mother has a girlfriend.

It's important to remember that while the title of the movie is My Mother Likes Women, the film centers primarily on Elvira. Her mother Sofia's (Rosa Maria Sarda, All About My Mother, Desire) newfound attraction to women is the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back. Unlike American movies with gay and lesbian characters, the tone does not become overtly preachy, nor does it wallow in stereotypes. Elvira and her two sisters genuinely love their mother, and this helps the film keep a light comic tone. Especially considering that Elvira, Gimena (Maria Puljate, The Carpenter's Pencil, Washington Wolves), and Sol (Silvia Abascal, La Cartera, La Voz de su Amo) scheme to make things better by having Sofia break up with her new girlfriend, Czech immigrant Eliska (Eliska Sirova, The Way Through the Bleak Woods, Veronika). It seems that they accept Sofia's newfound orientation, just not her choice. One gets the feeling that they really don't, at least not yet, and this is a way to put things off until later. What's also nice is that the Eliska character is fully realized, and not a walking stereotype. The script gives her a brain and feelings to go with it.

It's a pretty despicable plan, and deep down, Elvira knows it is, but she's too harried to do anything about it. What's worse is that she discovers that Sofia gave Eliska a large sum of money to help her establish her citizenship in Spain. Elvira was going to ask for the money to help finish her novel, and the fact that Eliska has is casts much suspicion on her. Sol, the youngest and a rock musician, decides that she's the one best suited to seducing Eliska, while Elvira begins to seriously doubt her own sexuality. The only way she can think of to combat this is to run out and try to seduce a man, which leads to a pretty comical love scene.

My Mother Likes Women was written and directed by Daniela Fejerman and Ines Paris (Vamos a Dejarlo, A Mi Quien Me Manda Meterme en Esto), and moves quickly enough so that viewers do not have to dwell on it. If they did, they would realize how ridiculous some of the plot twists are. Nevertheless, as is, it is a nice screwball-like confection with an amusing performance by Watling. The whole situation causes Elvira to reassess her life, especially after a somewhat melodramatic turn in the plot. It turns out that this 'shock' to her routine is what she needed to break out of her rut. Fejerman and Paris also has similar subplots involving Sol and Gimena, but with diminishing returns. The fact that everybody comes to some deeper understanding make the ending a little too happy, but hey, My Mother Likes Women is a nice fluffy confection of a film.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 36 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles, Not Rated but contains language, and some sensuality, a PG-13 or R.

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