A flinty, opinionated, bed-ridden Mrs Lowry (Vanessa Redgrave – Atonement, Morgan) is less than impressed by the artistic output of son, Timothy Spall (Mr Turner, Harry Potter). Scenes of Lancashire mills and workers is not what art is about as far as the octogenarian is concerned.
A meek man domineered by his mother, LS Lowry was only able to find success after her death in 1939. But that’s four years hence. Here, we witness a claustrophobic relationship between the two in a film set almost entirely in one bedroom. It’s all a little too dreary: Lowry is a subdued, subservient, downtrodden figure whilst mother regales him for wasting his time in his studio attic or complains about her fall from social grace for marrying beneath her.
Mrs Lowry & Son started off as a radio play by Martyn Hesford – and it shows. And even with former Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director, Adrian Noble, making a rare foray into film, it’s somewhat dramatically inert.