March 26, 2013 at 6:13 am #271959
It honestly looks more Lifetime than HBO and although it seems to not be much of a stretch at all for Swank (which we know she is more than capable of, often times transforming herself than playing herself), it does look like it could garner Blethyn some hardware.
That if, of course, if the categories hadn’t been combined in the Miniseries/Made-for-TV Movie categories. (Broken record that will continue when the moment presents itself.) There’s just too much good material to be combining these categories. It’s a joke enough as is at SAG (i.e. Paul Giamatti over William Hurt for Too Big to Fail).March 26, 2013 at 9:04 am #271961
The british reviews said that the movie is bad or blah lol I don’t think it’ll receive emmy nominations, even for Swank.March 26, 2013 at 10:41 am #271963
Swank is the clear lead throughout while Blethyn is gone when scenes are set in USA for the most part.March 26, 2013 at 1:52 pm #271964
Aw, must they compete this year?
Hilary Swank and Jessica Lange
HILARY: When I was asked who I wanted to
do this with, you’re the first person that came boldly into my head,
because you are so bold in all of the things that you do. You are a
brilliant movie actress, a brilliant theater actress, you do
television…you do it all, and not everyone can.
JESSICA: I’m so honored! And in
response to that, the thing that I’ve always loved about your work is
your truthfulness, which, to me, is the most important thing as an
HILARY: Coming from you, that’s an extraordinary compliment.
JESSICA: And also, you are brave. That is the other element for me that defines great acting.
Swank and Blethyn look like they give terrific performances, btw.March 26, 2013 at 2:55 pm #271965
It looks pretty good. I can’t wait to see it!March 26, 2013 at 8:27 pm #271966
Boring.April 16, 2013 at 7:37 am #271967
Variety’s positive review (combined with a dual review of the new Lifetime film “Call Me Crazy”):
TV Reviews: HBO’s “Mary and Martha,” Lifetime’s “Call Me Crazy”
04.15.13 | 07:00AM PT
The TV movie remains in relative decline, which makes a weekend in which two high-profile versions with big-name stars and overt messages playing directly opposite each other especially noteworthy. It’s also instructive, in a compare-and-contrast sort of way, to consider why “Mary and Martha”—a moving return to intimate form for HBO—represents an emotionally stirring triumph, while Lifetime’s “Call Me Crazy: A Five Film” feels like an empty gimmick, an all-star marketing hook/public-service campaign in search of a movie.
After a stretch in which HBO has relied almost exclusively on attention-getting fact-based films like “Game Change” and “Phil Spector,” “Mary and Martha” harks back to when the service was content to tell great little stories—often with an agenda—that might not have been commercial enough to find a home elsewhere. And if one’s first thought is the 2005 gem “The Girl in the Cafe,” it should come as less of a surprise that “Mary” comes from that movie’s writer, Richard Curtis.
At its core a personal story about two mothers joined in grief, “Mary and Martha” is also a passionate piece of advocacy. Moreover, it reflects Curtis’ penchant for envisioning a world where good can come of ordinary people’s do-good passion, which is both uplifting and reassuring, even if it doesn’t always conform to reality.
Mary (Hilary Swank) is a Virginia mom who drags her young, sensitive son (Lux Haney-Jardine) on an adventure to Africa, only to see the boy die from malaria. Wracked by almost unimaginable pain and guilt—endangering her marriage to her husband (Frank Grillo)—she heads back to Mozambique, where by chance she encounters Martha (Brenda Blethyn), whose grown son (Sam Claflin) had been working as a teacher there before succumbing to the same disease.
Directed by Phillip Noyce, the movie begins with a simple premise: That malaria is preventable, yet the world’s powers, beginning with the U.S., won’t allocate the necessary resources to stop hundreds of thousands of children from dying of it. At first, Mary and Martha simply bond, before seeking a way to mobilize their emotion into action, and progress.
Admittedly, Curtis has a rather facile view of how good can be accomplished, but in a cynical age, there’s something refreshing about old-fashioned idealism, even if the movie hinges on well-intentioned Westerners bringing relief to the Third World. Part of that has to do with the intensely personal approach to the story, and the palpable anguish Swank and Blethyn convey.
“Call Me Crazy” also engages in a kind of advocacy, seeking to shed light on the problem of mental illness, with the wattage that comes from having an assortment of well-known actresses (Jennifer Aniston, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Bonnie Hunt, Ashley Judd) behind the camera. Patterned after the earlier movie “Five,” which dealt with breast cancer, the celebrity-produced effort plays like an excuse to assemble marquee talent in short films, but not in a way that yields much coherence or resonance.
Part of that has to do with dividing the movie into individual chapters named after specific characters. Although the first, third, and fifth are loosely connected, the duration of about 18 minutes each doesn’t leave much time to develop characters or escape mental-illness caricatures.
Part one, for example, focuses on Lucy (Brittany Snow), a law student dealing with schizophrenia. In part two, a young girl (“Modern Family’s” Sarah Hyland) wrestles with her bipolar mother (Melissa Leo, the best thing in the film). The third has another young woman (Sofia Vassilieva) bringing home a boyfriend, not knowing her sister, the aforementioned Lucy, will be there.
Part four is a classic “tears of a clown” tale, as a standup comic (Mitch Rouse) and his wife (Lea Thompson) grapple with the throes of depression. Finally, Jennifer Hudson plays an Iraq war vet plagued by post-traumatic stress, endangering custody of her young son.
For all the promotable aspects of having four actresses (along with “Bridget Jones’ Diary’s” Sharon Maguire) direct, the format muddles the message—that mental illness affects people in various ways, and one shouldn’t be embarrassed about seeking help.
Good intentions, however, don’t add up to a decent movie. And while it would be easy to call that appraisal heartless, it comes from someone who finished “Mary and Martha” with a sizable lump in his throat.
Mary and Martha
(Movie; HBO, Sat. April 20, 8 p.m.)
Cast: Hilary Swank, Brenda Blethyn, Sam Claflin, Frank Grillo, Lux Haney-Jardine, Bongo Mbutuma, Ian Redford, James Woods
Filmed in South Africa and North Carolina by WTTV Working Title Television in association with the BBC and NBC Universal. Executive producers, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Juliette Howell, Liza Chasin; producers, Hilary Bevan Jones, Genevieve Hofmeyr; director, Phillip Noyce; writer, Richard Curtis; camera, Roberto De Angelis; production designers, Tom Hannam, Beth Rubino; editor, Martin Nicholson; music, Michael Brook, Philip Miller; casting, Mary Gail Artz, Shani Ginsberg, Moonyeen Lee, Alice Searby. 95 MIN.
Call Me Crazy: A Five Film
(Movie; Lifetime, Sat. April 20, 8 p.m.)
Cast: Brittany Snow, Jennifer Hudson, Melissa Leo, Octavia Spencer, Sarah Hyland, Sofia Vassilieva, Ernie Hudson, Jason Ritter, Jean Smart, Lea Thompson, Melanie Griffith, Mitch Rouse.
Produced by Echo Films and Freestyle Picture Co. in association with Sony Pictures Television. Executive producers, Jennifer Aniston, Marta Kauffman, Kristin Hahn, Kevin Chinoy, Francesca Silvestri; producer, Jeff Freilich; directors, Laura Dern, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bonnie Hunt, Ashley Judd, Sharon Maguire; writers, Deirdre O’Connor, Howard J. Morris, Jan Oxenberg, Stephan Godchaux, Erin Cressida Wilson; production designer, Johannes Spalt; music, Alex Wurman; casting, Victoria Burrows, Scot Boland. 120 MIN.April 20, 2013 at 8:10 am #271968
Entertainment Weekly’s capsule review:
Mary & Martha (2013)
Hilary Swank and Brenda Blethyn play women with nothing in common except a tragic circumstance—the death of their sons from malaria in South Africa. In heart-tugging fashion, writer Richard Curtis (“Notting Hill”) and director Phillip Noyce (“Salt”) frame the duo’s attempts to raise awareness about this preventable disease. B —Sara VilkomersonApril 20, 2013 at 8:21 am #271969
Roush’s capsule review:
WEEKEND AT THE TV-MOVIES: Used to be that nearly every Sunday, you’d get to pick among a crop of new network TV-movies. That cottage industry migrated to cable long ago, with mostly formulaic results, but this weekend, there’s an unusual number of high-profile projects. Starting with HBO, where the film division has a track record of aiming high with social purpose and marquee talent: The simple yet moving Mary and Martha (Saturday, 8/7c), by Richard Curtis and directed by Phillip Noyce stars Hilary Swank (Mary) and Brenda Blethyn (Martha) as two super-moms who unite to channel their grief into political action after their sons contract malaria in Africa and die—Mary’s boy George is just a kid on sabbatical from America with mom, while Martha’s son Ben is an aimlessly charming young adult who left his family in England to teach village children in Mozambique. Mary is headstrong and abrasive, Martha matronly and warm, and the actresses’ chemistry makes up for an earnest predictability in the storytelling.April 20, 2013 at 10:30 am #271970
I might watch this one. Just becuase Swank is in it.April 20, 2013 at 12:54 pm #271971
Below is a copy of what I posted in the Miniseries/Telefilm Discussion Forum regarding its Emmy chances (having not seen the film yet, of course). I didn’t realize this had its own thread. I’m looking forward to it.
Regarding Hilary Swank — Having not seen Mary & Martha yet — one would assume she would get in by default because she would be an easy name to check off. But she’s been snubbed by Emmy once before. At the 2004 ceremony, Iron Jawed Angels received five nominations – including Supporting Actress/Anjelica Huston and Writing – but nothing for Swank. But then at the Golden Globe and SAG ceremonies held in 2005 Swank was nominated for Iron Jawed Angels and lost (but later won in both nights for Million Dollar Baby). I just wonder if Iron Jawed Angels had been pushed back a little further where it hit the Globes first and then the SAGs, if she would have gotten in at the 2005 Emmy ceremony (if for no other reason than being fresh off of a recent second Oscar win). It’s all speculatory, but she’s definitely much more prominent now than after her first win.
As for Brenda Blethyn, I can’t see how she would miss out on a nomination if she goes Supporting. She’s a Brit with two Oscar nominations, three Globe nominations (including a win for her first: Lead Drama Actress in a Film/Secrets & Lies), two SAG nominations, four BAFTA nominations (including a win for her first, again for Secrets & Lies), and most important of all – in this case anyway – two Primetime Emmy nominations (2001 Supporting Actress in a Telefilm forAnne Frank: The Whole Story and 2009 Guest Drama Actress for Law & Order: SVU). My point to all of that is she is definitely on NATAS’s radar and even if the film is a complete bust, I could still see her getting a nomination on name and status alone. (Which Swank has, but in a MUCH more crowded field).
Even if Mary & Martha is complete crap, let me remind everyone of a film HBO did last year that, although one of the worst telefilms HBO has ever released, was headlined by two A-listers – Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen – and ended up garnering 15 nominations. I feel Swank and Blethyn mixed with being on HBO could have that same kind of pull. We shall see.
Regardless, this discussion is SO much more fun and exciting now that the categories are the way they’re supposed to be. Lead and Supporting Actress haven’t been this competitive in years.
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