3 Generations of Trans actors and acclaimed cast brings you into the front
room of any dysfunctional family from Northern England, in Award winning short “Mum”.
By: Kim Cavell
Los Angeles, (The Hollywood Times)
10/ 16/ 2017- “ We essentially
follow Kate and her Mums relationship and it coming full circle. A very relatable story for the masses”.
The opening scene has a dream like quality leaving us wondering, if its reality or imagination. In this case the memory of Kate, a trans woman, remembering her childhood in the body of a young boy. Split edits of overlapping audio to visuals pulls us between the childhood memory of Kate with her mother, and the present day.
The choice of score and sound production embellishes the dreamy visuals, abruptly stopped by the first pieces of dialog between Kate (Kate O’Donnell) and her brother Carl (Lee Boardman). Straight of the bat, watching this family interact leaves you feeling like you’ve stepped into the front room of any normal – if slightly dysfunctional family from Northern England. Speaking from experience.
I can’t help but be slightly biased to the rolling hills and quaint charm of this Northern England backdrop, that would leave anyone in awe of its beauty. But there is no doubt that the choice of locations, interior and exterior, create a down to earth feeling for this family, making the issues and feelings between the characters all that more relatable.
Lee Boardman drew me in immediately, his impressive resume (Da Vinci’s Demons, ITV’s Great night out and Coronation Street) come second to his unbelievable talent and charm. He along with two other young talented transgender actors, Ash Palmisciano and Joseph Pearson, are joined by Kenneth Colley (Peaky Blinders). Mum herself is portrayed by Margot Leicester, a renowned theater actress who came straight from her role as Camilla Parker-Bowles in King Charles III, on Broadway and BBC 2. Mum is short film which in my opinion had so many places to go with the characters and the story. Kate’s brother Andrew is also rejected by the father, in moments of awkwardness and hostility, something which I wish was explored. On one hand I appreciate the decision to not explain everything about this family, but I was left with a feeling of wanted just a minute or two more from the characters and their story.
Essentially we follow Kate and her relationship with her Mum and it coming full circle. From being cared for and washed by her mother, to then returning the care many years later. Something very beautiful and fulfilling to see, is Kate experience another level of womanhood in “mothering” her own parent and getting precious glimpses of having a girls day with her Mum. This powerful imagery is matched by beautiful cinematography tying everything in together.
The irony of the situation is also mirrored by warm and happier tones used in the childhood memory and the colder tones used in present day. Tones of the present day are cool, with wardrobe using a lot of blues and greens, in contrast to the memory of bath time with Mum. Where yellow/ green tiles are used and a yellow duck.
We assume that Kate’s journey to who she is, has landed her in the life and person she always saw for herself, but it is her memory, in a young boys body which is depicted as warm and loving.
It’s only when she finally gets that moment with her mum, washing her mothers hair we see the same warm tones as before. Then we learn that the relationship between her and Mum is more important than anything else going on. A very beautiful message, and one that all can relate to on some level.
And finally the final scene of Kate holding her Mum, laying in bed was the final tie into childhood and role reversal. But for me I was left feeling like it was unfinished, or that everything I expected to happen did. Quite beautifully, with great attention to detail and talented team throughout. It was slightly unsurprising. But somehow I would still recommend it without a doubt so that speaks for itself.