When her husband is killed in Vietnam, Francesca Kinsolving (Duke) finds herself alone… and pregnant. She makes her way to Minnesota in order to meet her late husband’s mother, certain that she'll be greeted with open arms. But Francesca soon discovers that there may be more to the Kinsolving family than she ever imagined… and that this simple family reunion is only the beginning of a waking nightmare.
In the film, YOU'LL LIKE MY MOTHER, It's been 7 months since Francesca's husband Matthew Kinsolving was killed in a plane crash, during the on-going Vietnam war. At present, she finds herself not only alone, but pregnant. After two letters to Matthew's mother go unanswered, Francesca takes it upon herself to make a 3 day bus trek from Los Angeles, to Minnesota. And it is there that the northern state, is in the middle of an enormously snowy winter. After a days long journey, Francesca finally makes it to the Kinsolvings 67 year old house on the hill. She expects to be greeted warmly by her husband's mother, but is shocked to find the exact opposite. Mrs. Kinsolving is quite cold, and refuses to acknowledge her as part of the family. So, it goes without saying that she wants nothing to do with Matthew's baby, who has yet to be born. The less than friendly atmosphere irks Francesca, who wants nothing more than to hurry up, and get out of there. But unfortunately, because of the continuing weather conditions, she finds herself snowed in. She has no other choice but to stay put. It is a period of time that lasts for days. And they are days, which Francesca makes some bizarre discoveries, when it comes to the truth regarding the Kinsolving family. With the help from the mute, mentally challenged woman named Kathleen, whom was introduced to Francesca, upon her arrival, as Matthew's sister, she learns of some shocking truths. Not only is Mathew's cousin a suspect in a brutal rape, and murder case, Matthew's mother, Maria had died just 11 days after him. So, with Matthew's mom dead - who is this women pretending to be the head of the family? It's Matthew's aunt Katherine, and as it turns out, she's carefully harboring son, Kenneth, who has been hiding out at the house. Maria's death also proves to be convenient, as Katherine looks to collect on the estate, with enough money for Kenneth to successfully flee the country. However, with Francesca there, things get more complicated for them. Even more so, when she happens to give birth during her extended stay. It is a birth that thus creates a new "next of kin". That's a problem for their scheme. And so they tell the drugged Francesca that her baby - a girl - was stillborn. Francesca, again with the help of Kathleen, comes to know the truth. Now, with her baby alive and well, she must make a successful escape. However, of course Katherine and Kenny, hope to make sure that she, nor her baby, make it out alive.
YOU'LL LIKE MY MOTHER(which is a reference to something that the film's main character's husband, had always told her), is a film from 1972, which was Directed by Lamont Johnson. It stars Patty Duke, as a young, pregnant woman who unknowingly finds herself in the middle of a carefully plotted scheme, when she travels to Minnesota to meet her late husband's mother for the first time. It's a film that I kind of remember seeing years ago, yet, it is one that I didn't remember much about other than its unique title. So this was essentially me seeing it for the first time, basically. Mrs. Kinsolving's cold hearted nature, is something that initially strikes us as odd. It's also something that intrigues us, as we wonder what her deal is. Fortunately for the film, it is something that keeps our interest, as is delves deeper into the plot, becoming more dark as it moves along. YOU'LL LIKE MY MOTHER is a slow burning thriller, that more times than not, keeps the mystery alive, as we, the audience attempt to figure it all out. First, the big discovery for the viewer is that these are people, who aren't who they say they are. And next, we are left to ponder the "why?". Why is it that they are pretending to be someone whom they are not? Admittedly, during the film's middle, things sort of dull down, however, that all changes when Francesca begins to sense that she may be in some real danger. The pace really does quicken near the film's end, making the last act truly suspenseful and thrilling, as the film ends with some edge-of-your-seat, action.
YOU'LL LIKE MY MOTHER, is a classic, progressively plotted thriller. It's not worried about being the flashy type of film that we are accustomed to seeing today. Instead, it is a film that allows itself time to slowly to seep in. To understand it, is to pay attention to it. And, lucky for us, the film presents characters who are interesting to watch. Patty Duke, as the film's lead character, "Francesca Kinsolving", is simply great. The film requires Francesca to be someone that we like and sympathize with, and Duke fits the bill, nicely. Here, she's cute, and very pregnant(not sure if she was legitimately pregnant at the time, or if it was just for show), and so, we the viewer come to fear for her when she is put into any danger. At Duke's opposite, is Rosemary Murphy, as the cold, and callous, "Katherine Kinsolving". Boy, is she a crabby handful! On the same vibe as Louise Fletcher in FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC, Murphy delivers a fantastic performance. It's a natural performance. I keep referring to the character being "cold". Because that is exactly what Katherine is. She never misses a beat - even when being harsh. The character of Katherine Kinsolving, is perfectly, and darkly complemented by someone who is almost just as sinister, yet far more violent. Her son, Kenneth, as he is nicely brought to life by actor, Richard Thomas. Thomas, is sometimes scary here, as we get a peek into the mind of the character. And he's even more so, when he becomes violent. In the end, for Francesca, while Kathrine does present to be a threat, it is Kenny who is the real danger. Which leads me to "Kathleen Kinsolving", who is played by Sian Barbara Allen. Kathleen is the emotional balance of the whole thing. While so much deception is going on, she shows heart. She's mute and mentally slow, and so she is often taken advantage of and abused. In the end, it is she who comes to Francesca, and the baby's aid. This was a performance which earned Allen a Golden Globe nomination, and rightfully so. It's a fantastic performance. Unable to fully talk through out the film, the role is performed via body language, movements and sounds. Here, Allen nails it, as the performance makes a definite impact. Collectively speaking, everyone does well in making this one, well worth the watch.
When it comes to the release itself, SCREAM! FACTORY has done well with this release. Here, the film is presented via a crisp and clean transfer, which far surpasses the look of the film's vintage theatrical trailer. The colors are well balanced, as the print retains the natural film grain. Likewise on the films audio, as it too, is both crisp, and clean. As for special features, the film features a co-interview featurette with co-stars, Sian Barbara Allen, and Richard Thomas, a photo gallery, as well as the film's theatrical trailer.
Details about the featurette are as follows :
"The Mystery of Kenny and Kathleen" (55m 38s)
Here, Richard Thomas("Kenneth Kinsolving") and Sian Barbara Allen("Kathleen Kinsolving"), are both interview. They talk about their acting histories, and how they came to be in this film. They reveal that prior to shooting they both read the novel in which the film was based, with Allen revealing that the film differs greatly from the book. She thinks that the film is much better. The two of them also go on to explain how they approached their characters. Next they talk about working on set. From working with Patty Duke, Director Lamont Johnson. They also go into details of some of the film's key scenes. They also reveal that while shooting the two of them fell for each other, dating for a period of time. More is said about Patty Duke, and also Rosemary Murphy. The featurette comes to a close with both Thomas and Allen giving details of what happened after the film was made, and how they felt about the film's initial release. It is mentioned that they both starred in a successful episode of Thomas' show "The Waltons" together, for which Thomas won an Emmy. They also leave with some parting worlds about what they want people to take from the film.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
Overall, YOU'LL LIKE MY MOTHER, is a pretty solid suspense film. Although it is one that was released theatrically, the look and feel of it, is that of a television movie. However, this isn't a bad thing, as it has a tight vibe, which begins to feel claustrophobic over time. It has a nice build, some slow moments, but ultimately, a great ending, with a good payoff. It isn't perfect by no means, but I enjoyed it.
Special Features include
- NEW Interviews With Richard Thomas And Sian Barbara Allen
- Photo Gallery
- Theatrical Trailer
This film will be released on Blu-Ray on May 10, 2016