Certain countries are known for making certain styles of films. Italians made spaghetti Westerns. Japanese. India does Bollywood. Americans make tent pole/superhero/action films. Japan is known for Anime and the French make great, quirky comedies. As for the Brits, they make a type of film that is specific to them. When you think of films from that part of the world slower-moving costume/period dramas come to mind. That is what they do best.
Mothering Sunday is one that slots into that style of film. Ironically it was made by a French director. Eva Husson’s (Girls of the Sun) film is about forbidden love and a young woman who begins on the path towards becoming a writer. A rather simple story made more complex by the human element. Rarely are things straightforward when you factor in people.
Working for the wealthy Niven family in 1924, Jane Fairchild (Odessa Young – Shirley, The Professor) is a quiet young woman with a secret. For years she and Paul Sheringham (Josh O’Connor – from television’s The Crown), the son of wealthy parents, have had a secret love affair. Now, just before he is to go off to marry another woman, Emma Hobday (Emma D’Arcy – from television’s House of the Dragon); a more suitable woman. So Jane and Paul are going to spend one more day together.
This is a type of film that you are either going to be bored by or revel in. Takes a certain kind of film fan to enjoy a film like Mothering Sunday. If you are patient you will be rewarded by the artsy and beautifully shot film. Slow and sensual it will work its way into your heart and mind as a good poem would.
Maybe because it is told from a female point of view, I was won over. Also, who can resist grief and romance? Seems like a compelling combo to me.
The fact that the film does not shy away from sex or nudity is another compelling aspect. That is amplified by the beautiful way these scenes are shot. Entwined limbs and fingers that graze over bodies. A body on top of another. All are depicted to be beautiful and part and parcel of sex. Not something that should be hidden.
Despite all the intimacy and sexual relations between them, Jane and Paul remain apart. Kept apart by their differences in class and economics. Shows that you can be together and be kept apart at the same time. The complexity of humans.