This film hasn’t yet been released. I saw it on Sunday Morning at the Westpark Theater in Irvine, via the O.C. International Jewish Film Festival. I hope that it will be released shortly, at least on DVD, because it is well worth seeing.
Gayle Kirschenbaum, a baby boomer, is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her relationship with her mother is highly conflictual and has adversely affected her life, such as her being unable to have a lasting romantic relationship. She decides to make a documentary about her family, primarily focusing on the relationship with her mother, Mildred (in her 90’s).
Mildred is a narcissistic, critical, demanding, and impossible-to-please mother, at least with Gayle. Her mother is also very funny and smart. She treated her two sons much better than she treated Gayle. In order to stop feeling the familiar hurt and rage inside, Gayle realizes she must find a way to forgive her mother if she is going to heal herself and salvage any kind of positive relationship with her before her death.
The film has clips from Gayle’s early childhood and extends to the history of her grandparents, although most of the historical family footage is about the nuclear family. Most of the film is here and now, involving the day-to-day interactions with her mother.
The journey Gayle makes with her mother is successful and very entertaining and illuminating along the way. There are a couple of mother/daughter therapy sessions which, as a psychiatrist, I found really interesting. I highly recommend this film for Jews, and most people will find it funny, provocative, and heartwarming.
Gayle has a website and this film will be able to be purchased on DVD soon; some of her earlier films are also available there for purchase.
For those who live in Orange Country, I recommend you catch some of the films still pending in the festival.