Mother. Mère. Moeder. In every language there’s a word or even multiple words for mum, one of the most important women in our lives. Someone who raised and protected us against the bad and cruel world out there. Taking care of us while creating precious moments. And when she’s in need, we’re always there to help her out. But what if very personal and ‘unconventional’ decision from the past might trouble the relationship between mum and daughter?
Director and producer Anne-Marie O’Connor, who spends working in television for the biggest part of her career, makes her directional big screen debut with Mum. Together with a 90% female crew and the strong leading lady Kate O’Donnell, a transgender actress who’s mainly been working for television, they made this short movie that tells a story that really need to be told. The story about the relationship between a transgender woman and her relationship with her (you probably guessed it) mum.
Instead of focusing on the life before the transition (the doubts, the reactions from the closest friends and family, the final decision,…) of gender, Mum focusses on the daily life of a transgender woman Kate. Kate, who hasn’t seen her mother for a long time, decides to pay her a visit. Upon arrival, she learns that her mother is gravely ill and that her stepfather refused to tell her what’s happening. Thanks to flashbacks, we get to discover that Kate always had a very close and loving relationship with her mum, even when she was a little boy and a young man. After a long and heated argument with her stepdaughter, Kate finally gets what she wants: Some treasurable time with her mother.
You can indeed tell that the transition from man to woman isn’t the main topic from Mum. It’s all about emotions, the band between a mother and her child (whether it’s a transgender or not) and that’s what we get. Especially the conversations between Kate (Kate O’ Donnell) and her Mum (Margot Leicester) are very moving and very recognisable. Especially for people who needed to take care of their own mother, due to any circumstance. Also the heated argument between Kate and her stepfather (Kenneth Colley) are very intense, sometime a little bit too much. But the real stars of Mum are without a doubt Ash Palmisciano and Joseph Pearson, the young transgender actors who play Kate at earlier stages of her life. They might have little screen time but they own every second of it. We’re sure that this isn’t the last time we saw those boys.
So head off to your nearest cinema and see Mum. It’s a non-typical transgender movie that focusses on emotions that everyone knows and with everyone can relate to. Alongside with great performances from both well-known and upcoming actors, it’s a movie that you really need to watch. You’ll totally understand why it won the prize for LGBTQ film at the London Independent Film Festival, as well as the Global Shorts Award of Excellence.
Film and Celebrity Reporter – Liselotte Vanophem