I had the great pleasure of speaking with documentary filmmaker Gayle Kirschenbaum earlier this week about her movie “Look At Us Now, Mother!” Boy oh boy am I ever glad that we connected.
The film is definitely not typical Mother’s Day fare. In fact, it’s about a turbulent and emotionally abusive relationship between Gayle and her mother, Mildred. Yet surprisingly, it’s what’s at the root of their complex dynamic that makes it such a hit for mother-daughter viewing. Actually, I’d say human viewing, as I think it would resonate with all adults of both the male and female species but you get the point.
“Mother” came along after the success of the Emmy Award-winning producer’s 13-minute tragicomedy, “My Nose,” an autobiographical project about Mildred’s relentless push to get her daughter a nose job. The intense interest from fans about that movie spurred the filmmaker on to expand and create this emotionally satisfying follow-up, which is ultimately about love and acceptance.
“We all have a story, and we all want to be heard, loved and accepted,” Gayle said to me during an hour-long phone call on Tuesday that felt more like chatting with a girlfriend than an interview (in the very best way!). “Usually when people act negatively, it’s because they are operating out of fear or of not feeling loved. So, be loving to people. Show them kindness.”
The result will pay off in more ways than you could ever imagine, she adds. And she should know. She’s lived it.
“Forgiveness will end up being the biggest gift you can give yourself. Because after all, it’s not what we go through, it’s how we how handle it, she said.”
Amen to that.
The film, which has been favorably written up in myriad publications, including the New York Times, Newsday and by Danny Peary for the Sag Harbor Express (my favorite of them all), will screen at the Sag Harbor Cinema on Saturday, May 7, and Sunday, May 8. Make sure you see it. You’ll be glad you did.