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Mrs Lowry & Son - Film Review (MINI British Film Festival 2019)

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by Annette Vandersluis (subscribe)
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The Love of a Boy
LS (Lawrence) Lowry is a renowned artist from Lancashire, England with a distinctive style, best known for his urban landscapes featuring matchstick men. His paintings were also often brooding and mysterious, unpopulated landscapes usually depicting areas around Pendlebury and Salford.

Mrs Lowry & Son is a very deep depiction of Lawrence's life as an unmarried son with an invalid mother. Lawrence (Timothy Spall) has followed in the footsteps of his father and works as a rent man, walking the streets collecting rent from people who often couldn't and didn't want to pay. Lawrence would come home to care for his mother, before attending art classes in the evening, and then painting into the early hours of the morning, desperately wanting his work to be appreciated in London and beyond.

Elizabeth, played by Vanessa Redgrave, is bedbound and bitter and lives in her upstairs bedroom, day in day out, without the relief of company or activities to satisfy her mind. She is an incredibly unhappy soul, who blames Lawrence's father and anyone she can for her downfall from a life of luxury in Victoria Square to a two up, two down in a suburban town in England's north.

The relationship between Lawrence and Elizabeth is troubled at best. Lawrence's life desire is to be loved and for Elizabeth to like his paintings, however Elizabeth is disdainful of everything about Lawrence. Every now and then you see the love of a mother, but it is brief and rare and Lawrence clings to these moments.

Lawrence's one desire is for his paintings to be exhibited in London, and when he receives a letter offering him his just desires, he can barely contain his excitement but knows he must keep this secret from his mother.

A visit from a new neighbour brings for Lawrence his heart's desire, and his mother finally expresses some joy in his paintings, but this is soon to end when Mrs Stanhope and his mother fall out after Lawrence wins a prize in a local competition.

Mrs Lowry & Son, Vanessa redgrave, timothy spall, british film festival, Lawrence lowry, Elizabeth lowry, Pendlebury, Salford, Lancashire
Photo: British Film Festival

Mrs Lowry & Son has received some very average reviews, however Timothy Spall and Vanessa Redgrave as Lawrence and Elizabeth give amazing performances. Spall and Redgrave, draw you deep into the personalities of Lawrence and Elizabeth and leave you feeling the deep emotions of a young boy desperately seeking and desiring his mother's approval and love, and wondering just what the critics were not seeing. This is not a movie you can watch half hearted, there is a depth within the performances which is unspoken. This is 91 minutes which will keep you clinging in the hope that Lawrence will finally receive his mother's approval.

The sets and costume design will give you great insight into life in early 20th century Lancashire and for those from the old country, will have you reminiscing and yearning for home.

Mrs Lowry & Son is showing at the British Film Festival.
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Why? A great movie into the life of a renowned artist.
Cost: $21 adults, $17.50 concession
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by Jen on 22/11/2019
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