Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Boy's Best Friend Is His Mother

His & Hers is an Irish documentary film. Set in the Midlands, it features a succession of girls and women talking about the men and boys in their lives. Each speaker is older than the one before, so we start off with tots talking about their daddies, then we have teenagers talking about their boyfriends, then older women talking about their sons. The women all look different, but the way they progress in age, and the way neither they nor their menfolk are ever named, give them a certain everywoman character, as though we are watching the one person from early childhood to old age.

A lot of the film is quite funny (we particularly loved the woman with the amazingly dirty laugh talking about how although she and her boyfriend tended to sit in separate rooms of their flat most of the time, they would "come together at night. In bed"), the overall effect is quite poignant. This is particularly true as the film goes on, and the women progress from talking about sons getting married to husbands dying. One bit I found quite affecting was a woman who had survived breast cancer talking about her husband getting very upset when he thought he was going to lose her. Likewise another newly bereaved widow talking about how she would wake up in the night dreaming of having her arms around her husband, only to find herself alone in the bed. Later women seem to feel their loss less keenly, as though the passage of time makes the wound less raw.

The second last woman is very old indeed, and she talks about how she reckons she will soon have to go into a home (though she avoids using that term). The last woman is in a home; she says nothing and looks into space, suggesting the onset of senility.

I suppose that makes the film as a whole sound rather miserable, but that would be a false impression. I found it more a fascinating depiction of life's rich pageant and the passage of human life. It might well be the best thing I see this year.

An inuit panda production

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