Best and Worst of 2013 Sundance Film Festival
Nicole Kidman, 'Upstream Color' and 'Before Midnight' make the cut
WORST: 'Two Mothers'
Stars: Robin Wright, Naomi Watts, Ben Mendelsohn
Director: Anne Fontaine
Lowdown: Picking "worsts" at festivals can be a cruel business, as most films enter a playing field like Sundance with high artistic ambitions and significant talent involved. But no film I saw this year faced a wider chasm between intention and outcome than "Two Mothers," Anne Fontaine's absurd romantic melodrama about two lifelong friends (Naomi Watts and Robin Wright) whose tendency to share everything in their lives takes a disturbing turn when they begin sleeping with each other's teenage sons. The outrageous premise, adapted from a novella by Nobel Prize-winner Doris Lessing, has allegorical potential, and it's refreshing to see a film deal so frankly with older female sexuality, but the film is so uncertain of its own tone -- the premiere screening prompted laughter in the audience, to the director's evident dismay -- that the whole is hard to take seriously. Still, a noble misfire, and a pretty sexy one too.
- Guy Lodge