My Mother Likes Women

A MI MADRE LE GUSTAN LAS MUJERES

3.5 stars out of five
by S. James Wegg
Publish Date: May 19, 2003
Reviewed at the 2003 Inside Out Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival
Trying to accept the mother of them all

Co-directors/writers Daniela Fejerman, Inès París have come up with an amusing trifle that explores the relationships between three sisters and their mother following her opening birthday scene double-whammy of coming out and introducing her much junior partner. My Mother Likes Women (Spanish with English subtitles) is a film that resonates in any language.

The daughters go into various levels of shock at this unexpected announcement (Dad has been happily divorced long before the revelation) but it’s really middle-sibling Elvira’s (Leonor Watling) story as she runs the gamut of denial, “maybe I am too,” and anger (“If I can get into Eliska’s panties—played with quiet dignity by Eliska Sirová—then Mom will come to her senses and dump her”).

In fact, Elvira spends more time horizontal than vertical as she comes to terms with her own insecurities. Concerned that she too may be a dyke-in-waiting she tells all to her psychologist, Ernesto. He responds in the “classic manner” by fondling Elvira and (“because I know more about you than anyone”) generously offering to probe her sexuality with his own attentive rod. She decides to seek help from another source.

But before you can say identity crisis, Elvira takes matters into her own hands and attempts a stand-up rape of Miguel, her publisher boss’ newly-signed author. The doomed coupling is peppered with several in-your-pants lines from the determined daughter: “I fancy a good screw … Don’t kiss me so much … Call me a whore!”

Failing twice at her own self-discovery, and learning from Sol (Silvia Abascal who also serves up a telling punk rock outing number that takes youthful rebellion to a new level of cruelty; the school-yard whining refrain is entirely appropriate) and Jimena (María Puljate) that their mother’s lover has also drained her savings to support her protégé’s music studies (both women are accomplished pianists), it falls to Elvira to seduce their same-aged “step-mother” as the means of having her banished.

The “would you like to see my tattoo” at the picnic line fails miserably, but, undaunted, Elvira asks Eliska to go clubbing where she hilariously reveals her ability to gauge men (“they’re just cocks lying in wait”). Many drinks later, their harmless kiss in Elvira’s room almost turns into something more. Eliska, promising secrecy about the entire night and coming home at the breakfast hour, gets the boot from her petulant partner Sofia, (Rosa María Sardá, who plays the character as blandly as it was written). She delivers judgment by cliché, “Do you know what time it is?” Little wonder that Beethoven’s “Tempest” piano sonata was in Sofia’s concert repertoire.

Cut to beautiful Prague where Eliska plays on exactly the same piano that was used in the Madrid sequences (ain’t movie magic grand?) and stoically endures the efforts of the now repentant three sisters (Mom collapsed in sadness at her concert following her honest lover’s exile) as they try to bring her back.

Then the syrup really starts to flow. Everybody makes up, makes out or marries for immigration law convenience. It’s a film that has more fun than flair and whose material never scratches anything except the surface, but it’s nice to know that Hollywood endings aren’t entirely in the straight domain. JWR

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