Some Mother's Son (1996)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Political Drama, Psychological Drama  |   Release Date - Dec 25, 1996 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 112 min.  |   Countries - Argentina, Ireland, United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Laura Abraham

Some Mother's Son is a fictional account of the 1981 Irish prison hunger strikes that took the life of Bobby Sands. The film is much more than a retelling of this turbulent time in Ireland's history, however; it gains substantial weight from director Terry George's creation of a world where two women try to reconcile their motherhood with their political identities. Irish suffering at the hands of the English is a story that has been better written and better directed in past movies (such as In the Name of the Father), but there are few war movies that show the anguish of mothers as this one does or that demonstrate the inseparability of war and politics from people's daily lives. Regardless of the side they fight for, every soldier is "some mother's son." This is remarkably illustrated by Helen Mirren's pacifist schoolteacher, who is unaware her son is fighting with the IRA and must come to terms with the fact that he may die for his ideals. Fionnula Flanagan, meanwhile, plays the mother of another IRA prisoner who has also joined the hunger strike: pro-Ireland all the way, she accepts her son's right to die for his political ideals. Although the women come from diverse economic and political backgrounds, their sorrow unites them, and the portrayals by Mirren and Flanagan are utterly engaging, making the sorrow a mother feels during wartime both real and personal.