Starring – Kate O’Donnell, Lee Boardman, Kenneth Colley, Ash Palmisciano, Joseph Pearson
Directed by Anne-Marie O’Connor
Mum is a touching and poignant short film about a daughter who goes home to have a spa day with her ill mom, only to find out that she is too sick to leave the house. Kate (played by transgender actress Kate O’Donnell) is transgender and although she seems to have had a close relationship with her mom as a child, that close relationship has now long been hindered by her stepfather, who doesn’t understand Kate and doesn’t seem to want to. Kate has a supportive brother, though, played by Lee Boardman (who I loved in the series Rome and since they are bringing back every TV series ever, why don’t they bring back Rome and show us Augustus Caesar’s long reign?).
In flashbacks, we get to see Kate and her mom have bath time together as they sing a song, the same song they sing years later when Kate comes to visit her mom, only to find out that she is too sick to go out, so they have the spa day at home and this time it is Kate who bathes her mom. This is a bond that was broken by hate and ignorance, but is now mending again through love.
There has been a plethora of trans films lately (well at least compared to the practically none that was the norm for such a long time), and Mum is one of the best out there right now. At only 13 minutes long, it packs a lot of emotion into those 13 minutes. A lot of pain. A lot of sadness. A lot of hate. But also, a lot of love. Here was a mom who loved her daughter even when she thought her daughter was her son. She still allowed Kate to be herself as a child and this seemed to give Kate a confidence as a child that she has carried well into adulthood.
The end of the film has one of the most beautiful shots of a mother and daughter that I have ever seen on film, and it made me wish for a mother like Kate has, because even though they lost each other because of the stepfather, they have found each other again. That is a love that will not die no matter what. That is a bond that is unbreakable. Quite beautiful.
Mum premiered at BFI Flare, which is the BFI’s LGBTQ Film Festival. It has won best LGBTQ film at the London Independent Film Festival, the Award of Excellence at Global Shorts, and has just been in competition as part of the official selection at the 2017 Edinburgh International Film Festival. It also recently played at the Oscar qualifying film festival Galway Film Fleadh. So in other words, Mum is a good film and certainly worthy of one of those elusive Oscar nominations. 🙂