Hush Little Baby

(aka Mother of Pearl, Jorge Montesi, Canada, 1993)


Canadian telemovie makers have a somewhat more confident way of tackling subjects that are a weird, compelling mixture of Hard Copy style sensationalism and earnest topicality.

Indeed, director Jorge Montesi, who made the excellent Liar, Liar (1992), is probably the international master of this genre. His latest, Hush Little Baby, is a thoroughly diverting blend of Gothic thriller and serious reflection on the problems of people who are suddenly confronted with their long absent biological parents.

Susan (Geraint Wyn Davies) is a happily married woman with two young children. Into her life steps Edie, the mother she never knew she had, played with fruity intensity by Diane Ladd (Wild at Heart). Like many a psychopathic parent in contemporary thrillers, Edie loves her daughter so much she will do anything to rid herself of competition in the affection stakes – which means attempting to either seduce or kill every other member of the family.

Montesi skilfully plays on the dissonance between the bland surfaces of the middle class domestic setting and the seething tensions below waiting to explode. As the soundtrack hums with a creepy arrangement of a children’s lullaby and horrid, primal remembrances start to flash into Susan’s mind, it is only a matter of time before Edie emerges as the supreme Monstrous-Feminine figure – grotesque but utterly riveting.

© Adrian Martin April 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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