Theresa is a Mother (2013) – By Misty Layne

Theresa McDermott has chased her “ideal” life as an urban-dwelling, punk(ish) singer-songwriter to the very end of its possible existence. She is broke, options have run out and she happens to have a few kids she is raising on her own since their dad split a year ago. Facing eviction and nowhere to go, Theresa packs up her children and what is left of her life and moves back to the small rural town, childhood home and parents she deliberately ran from a decade ago. Her parents’ mutual misery and depressingly gloomy lives where a “downer” she felt had no place in her fun city life. Yet from the moment Theresa drives back up her old driveway, it is clear that there have been some major changes. Her parents, armed with a plethora of hobbies, a hot tub and a new philosophy, are not exactly the old folks she left behind. Theresa needs a job, her parents need their space and a painful family history needs some closure.
Delightful is the word to best sum up Theresa is a Mother. The film is an absolute delight. It takes an age old story and real life experiences and makes them uniquely Theresa’s own, while incorporating an air of awkwardness that makes the experience a little too close for comfort at times for the viewer. Awkward, random hilarious situation after situation ensues in Theresa but it’s never over the top and it never detracts from the seriousness of the film. The family dynamics and the entirely too common but yet still odd situation of having to live with ones’ parents again are perfectly explored here, showing us harsh truths, the unadulterated love of family and the uncomfortable bordering on funny moments that occur within families.

C. Fraser Press is more than terrific as Theresa, the struggling mother trying to keep it all together while giving up on her dreams to help her family. Her performance never wavers and is strong throughout, not to mention hysterically funny at times. She is also able to reach into the depths of the emotional pool to bring out the sadness and frustration a mother in her position experiences. The child actors involved here were quite good as well with Schulyer Press being the standout as an almost teen who is shy and a loner and struggling to find herself. Also featured are Edie McClurg (who is wonderful as always, I’m quite the fan of hers) and Richard Poe as Theresa’s parents.

Between the remarkable script and phenomenal ensemble, Theresa is a Mother is a dramedy I highly recommend. It’s both funny and touching and will make you pause to give thought about your own family interactions. This is one to definitely add to your “Must See” list. I should probably also mention that Theresa has won over 12 awards on the festival circuit ranging from Best Director to Best Ensemble. Seriously, don’t just take my word for it – go check out the film’s website and see everything they’ve done and are up too and to learn more about the cast and crew. You can also “like” them on Facebook! So go check them out!