A film director is struggling to remain focussed on her latest feature with her mother seriously ill in hospital. Things are not helped by the leading man unable to remember his lines.
In its understated simplicity and slice of the everyday, Mia Madre is a beautifully observed story of loss and grief. Margherita Buy (The Caiman, His Secret Life) is superb as Margherita, a professional woman needing to be in control but who therefore struggles to give voice to her emotions. It is only with her brother Giovanni (Nanni Moretti) she can be herself.
A bombastic, almost caricaturist, performance by John Turturro (Quiz Show, Barton Fink) as the (loud) Italo-American film star upsets the quietness of Mia Madre. Instead of light relief, Turturro undermines its intimacy, ensuring the two ‘parts’ of the storyline are never fully integrated.