REVIEW: Child’s Pose

13 09 2014

Child's PoseMother-son conflicts have been a consistent source of compelling drama in storytelling.  Be it Oedipus the King, Hamlet, or “Psycho,” the primal tensions never seem to stop inspiring writers and entertaining audiences.

Add another to the pile with “Child’s Pose,” a Romanian film by Calin Peter Netzer that explores rather familiar territory, but put it far away from the aforementioned classics.  It recalls the 2009 drama “Mother,” by Korean director Bong Joon-Ho, in particular as both follow cryptic mothers determined to keep a beloved son from facing judicial consequences for committing a crime.  (Here, it’s vehicular manslaughter.)

Luminita Gheorghiu’s matriarch Cornelia is part Eleanor Iselin from “The Manchurian Candidate” and part Claire Underwood from “House of Cards,” an interesting combination that makes her character worth following down this strange path.  It’s clear from the outset that she’s doing this largely for self-preservation, although her character does have some nice complexity.

The film drags on for nearly two hours towards a very predictable end, largely gliding by on the strength of Cornelia alone.  “Child’s Pose” falters mainly because the tensions with her son, Barbu,  never really reach a satisfying boil.  That might have to do with the fact that Barbu is so pathetic that we never quite understand why he’s worth protecting.

This “slice of crisis” piece is very much in line with the tenets of the Romanian New Wave, though if you’re seeking to learn about the country’s emerging cinematic presence, don’t start here.  Go to something like “4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days,” where you’ll get all the stylistic elements of “Child’s Pose” but with the addition of a compelling narrative.  C+2stars

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2 responses

17 09 2014
Brittani

Aw, that’s a bummer you didn’t like this one more. I really enjoyed it, but I agree that 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days was the better film.

17 09 2014
Marshall

I didn’t mean to make an apples-to-apples comparison … but realized a good chunk of people reading this might have little to no knowledge of the Romanian New Wave. Heck, I have very little knowledge of it!

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