It's a testing time in Margherita's life. She had just broken up with her boyfriend, there are endless problems on the set of her new movie, her daughter doesn't want to study, and on top of all her mother is dying in the hospital. What lessons, if any, are in store for Margherita, as she battles her way through this life crisis.
MIA MADRE is a slice of life movie, that echoes Fellini's "8 1/2". While it draws a lot of inspiration from that film, the movie tells its own, very personal story.
Director Nanni Moretti mixes dreamlike sequences with a daily routine, which creates a unique style, it sucks you in from the very beginning.
John Torturro is a welcome presence with his larger than life character Barry Huggins - an unfortunate Hollywood star that wrecks havoc on Margherita's shoot. But any comedy is quickly absorbed by sadness of Margherita's brother Giovanni, played by the director Nanni Moretti himself. His well hidden depression is a reflection of the extreme grief Margarita may succumb to at any moment. Margherita Buy as Margherita delivers the depth and emotion well, but her performance is undermined by the others around her - a true director she wants to direct not just her films but her own life, but it does rob her from being "a star" of her own story. Margherita stumbles through her days leading to the unavoidable and is literally drowning. One of the scenes when she wakes up in a flooded apartment is a symbol of that.
The movie is hard to watch at times, especially the scenes with Margherita's fading away mother - she really is the centre of it all and the main point of unresolved conflict in the drama created around her, although she is totally oblivious to this. Margherita's mother is naturally and tenderly portrayed by a veteran actor Giulia Lazzarini.
Dealing with regrets of a middle aged life, the movie, it seems, attempts to grasp for the moment and hold it in the palm of its hand. MIA MADRE is a remarkable little film where sadness prevails over joys of life.