Earth Mama

Runtime : 101 mins

Genre : Drama

Vote Rating : 6.3/10

Movie Website

Reviews for this movie are available below.

Plot : A pregnant single mother, with two children in foster care, embraces her Bay Area community as she fights to reclaim her family.

Cast Members

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This is one of those films that leaves me with decidedly mixed feelings. It’s definitely a showcase for writer-director Savanah Leaf, whose considerable artistic sensibilities are clearly apparent in her first feature outing. The same can be said for lead actress Tia Nomore, making her screen debut in a genuinely moving performance. Unfortunately, the vehicle in which their talents are being put to use could stand to be better. This story of the bureaucratic turmoil faced by a single mother in recovery who’s pregnant with her third child (and her first two in foster care) sincerely seeks to evoke viewer empathy for the circumstances she’s enduring. At the same time, though, the story also raises many questions about responsibility (or a lack thereof), an admittedly honest depiction of conditions that are often present in these scenarios that, nevertheless, tends to undercut the pursuit of that aforementioned goal, leaving viewers (like yours truly) confused about what to truly feel. Add to that a somewhat thin narrative that feels padded to fill out the runtime, and one has a picture that comes up short of its objective, despite the efforts of a fine ensemble cast and engaging cinematography. This production’s National Board of Review accolades and Independent Spirit Award nominations aside, Leaf and Nomore genuinely deserve better material to show audiences what they’re capable of. Regrettably, however, this isn’t it.

Tia Nomore delivers strongly here in this otherwise rather unremarkable drama about "Gia". She's a woman expecting her third child in San Francisco, with the other two already in the care system and she seems to be thinking this latest one will be adopted. We have no idea where the child's father is - indeed, men don't feature much at all in this film - so we are quickly immersed in her sense of isolation and loneliness from the start. It's not an emotionally charged, woe-is-me, sort of loneliness - it's more of a realisation that she wants to be on her own, thrives better on her own, won't get let down on her own. The thrust of the narrative now attempts to confront that approach and demonstrate to her that there are plenty amongst her community who could be there to help, to engage and to integrate with. It's a nicely photographed film with camerawork that provides us with an intimate glimpse into this troubled woman's life, but the story is really nothing new and the storyline emphasises all too clearly the difficulties of trying to have a child whilst reliant on over-stretched state infrastructure without addressing any of her own social and behavioural responsibilities to herself and unborn child. Indeed, she comes across frequently as a rather selfish, almost, childish herself, kind of character who thinks nothing of walking through the park stealing nappies from other recent mothers! It has moments that are poignant, and it does look good - but it's way too simplistic and just a little one-sided for me. I expect to see more of Nomore though.

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