Some Mother's Son

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

In this powerful drama, fictional characters are intertwined with historical events involving the ongoing political conflict in Northern Ireland. The film recounts a 1981 protest by imprisoned Irish Republican Army members, who wanted to be recognized as prisoners of war and refused to wear the same uniforms as common criminals. British officials, intent on suppressing the IRA, punish the protesters by refusing to dispose of their human wastes. The men respond by smearing their excrement on the walls of their cells. When their demands are still not met, jailed IRA leader Bobby Sands (John Lynch) goes on a hunger strike, soon joined by many other prisoners. Sands is even elected to the British Parliament in the midst of his protest, but eventually he and nine other prisoners die. The film views this real-life incident through the eyes of two fictional mothers. Kathleen Quigley (Helen Mirren), is a widowed teacher unaware that son Gerard (Aidan Gillen) is even involved with the IRA until he's arrested. Annie Higgins (Fionnula Flanagan), on the other hand, supports the participation of her son Frank (David O'Hara). Both men are jailed for their involvement in a mortar attack on British troops. Despite their differences of opinion on the British conflict, Kathleen and Annie become friends and begin fighting for the lives of their sons. As Frank and Gerard join the hunger strike and are nearing death, the mothers must decide if they are going to allow their sons to die for their beliefs. Regardless of one's political stance towards this event, the strong emotions of this story make for compelling viewing.

Some Mother's Son is undeniably sympathetic toward the Irish cause, especially since the lead British official is portrayed as uncaring ogre intent on destroying the IRA at any cost. Anyone looking for a balanced perspective will not find all of the answers here. In fact, very little background information about the Irish-British conflict is provided; the film-makers take it for granted that viewers will know this history. Explosions and two murders associated with the unrest are shown, but these incidents are not excessive. Realism strays too far with respect to the language, however, with many obscenities and regular profanities appearing in the dialogue. These foul words were not necessary to tell the story, and are almost entirely responsible for its unacceptable rating.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Columbia Pictures, 10202 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (6) times - Mild 1, Moderate 5

Obscene Language: Many (17) times - (s-word 3, f-word 12, other 2)

Profanity: Many (25) times - Regular 21 (G 7, J 7, JC 5, for G sakes 2), Exclamatory 4

Violence: Several times - Moderate (explosions, gunfire with bloody wounds, two killings, street riot)

Sex: None.

Nudity: None.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None.

Drugs: Few times - smoking, alcohol drinking

Other: Fictionalized account of political unrest in Northern Ireland

Running Time: 111 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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