Film Review: Materna

Ruth and Mona on the subway

Whilst tourists flock from around the world to visit New York, living in the Big Apple doesn’t necessarily have the same shine. Major cities might have lots going on but they can also be incredibly lonely places. Isolating and anxiety-inducing. Never a peaceful moment. Everyone has their own unique story and personal history, but to be a woman in this environment adds extra layer of challenges, problems and dangers. This is the focus for Materna.

Jean (Kate Lyn Sheil) lives alone and dedicates her life to a mysterious Virtuality Project, before discovering that she’s pregnant. Mona (Jade Eshete) is an actor pushed to use an unhappy relationship with her mother as a trigger to go deeper into a role. Ruth (Lindsay Burdge) enlists her gay brother’s (Rory Culkin) help in trying to talk to her troubled son. Peri (Assol Abdullina) returns to her homeland for a tense visit after the death of a cherished uncle. Their lives intersect around the actions of a man in a subway carriage.

Materna tells the stories of four very different women who in their own ways are fighting against the same enemy. These stories are all unique and separate but get stronger as they progress. The final segment is by far and away the standout, with Abdullina producing an astonishing award-winning performance. David Gutnik’s film benefits from using several different voices and perspectives which all coalesce around one central theme.

Materna will have a US theatrical release in LA/NY on 6 August and is available on digital platforms/VOD in the US from 10 August.

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