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The French actress Eva Husson (Girls of the Sun) tried to inject some French flair and sensuality into the typical British period drama, but this romantic drama, which (mostly) takes place after the First World War, remains quite thin. The screenplay is based on Graham Swift’s award-winning novel of the same name from 2016, and was written by Alice Birch, who presented herself in a good edition with the screenplay for the first film, also the costume period drama “Lady Macbeth”. However, both stylistically and thematically, these two films are completely different, and “Mothering Sunday” could also be described as a coming-of-age story and a story about what in her youth shaped a woman who would later become a writer.

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That woman is Jane Fairchild, a girl who grew up in an orphanage (hence the surnames Fairchild, Goodchild and the like that were given to abandoned children in British orphanages in the Victorian era). She is a servant of the rich Niven family (known actors Olivia Colman and Colin Firth in episodic roles of spouses) who will fatally fall in love with Paul Sheringham, the only survivor of the five sons of an aristocratic family from the neighborhood. Both their secret and passionate relationship will last for years, but the time has come for Paul to marry a girl from his class, Miss Emma, ​​previously engaged to one of his brothers who died in the war.


Of course, that romance will not end well for Jane (even less so for Paul!), who will later use her unfortunate romance in her youth to launch her writing career. In fact, we follow the backbone of the whole story retrospectively, through Jane’s memories later in life when she is already in her mature years and in a relationship with another man, and the story is a bit chaotic because it is set non-linearly. However, unlike most films set in the time of “You Rang, My Lords”, this British aristocracy is not portrayed as classically snobbish and sleazy, and it’s clear that these people have also (mostly) changed from a generation or two earlier. .


Although “Mothering Sunday” is by no means a film about the class differences of the time, the differences in class and origin will nevertheless affect the impossibility of the future of Jane and Paul’s relationship. The film is about something that could be called an emotional memory, about the main protagonist’s memory of a passionate relationship, and those parts were shot in a particularly stylized way. The camera is in close-up, close-up, there are some details in the foreground, often faces or other parts of the body, with which Husson tried to achieve a certain poetics, but still, I can’t say that this somewhat boring film particularly impressed me.