A neurotic basket case named Cynthia (played exquisitely by Brenda Blethyn) struggles to tame her bratty daughter while harboring a deep secret. Years ago she got pregnant and gave the baby up for adoption.
When the estranged daughter's adoptive parents die, she seeks out her biological mother. Cynthia is so emotionally unstable that she is hardly prepared for a reunion. At first she resists contact entirely; her guilt and her fear of the other's discovering her secret are overwhelming. But as Cynthia admits to herself that her current life is frustrating and ungratifying, she reaches out to the estranged daughter in a way that lifts her spirits and boosts her confidence.
Her existing family members--each contending with his or her own emotional conflict--eventually air their own dirty laundry, ultimately resulting in a deeper and more truthful familial bond.
The review of this Movie prepared by Jennifer
Hortense (Jean-Baptiste), a competent 27-year-old British optometrist who is black, was an adopted child and decides to find her birth mother. That woman turns out to be a never-married white factory worker named Cynthia (Blethyn, in an outstanding performance), who has a sullen daughter named Roxanne and mourns her estrangement from her younger brother Maurice (Spall), a successful wedding photographer who lives in the suburbs with his wife Monica. Things come to a head when Monica agrees to host a 21st birthday party for Roxanne, and Cynthia brings Hortense as a "friend and co-worker." Employing his usual unorthodox methods, writer/director Mike Leigh filmed with no script: The actors improvised under his total control, and (for example) Blethyn and Jean-Baptiste never laid eyes on each other until the long, continuous shot across a cafe table when their characters first meet. In a similar way, the climactic luncheon for six on an outdoor patio is shown in one continuous, flowing shot of virtuosic camera work and acting. An astonishing intense and personal (though leisurely) piece of work.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus
A sincere English production about a successful middle-class black lady,Hortense looking for her birth mother,Cynthia who turned out to be white and lower-class.
The review of this Movie prepared by Jenny