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Director: Niall Johnson
Starring: Rafe Spall & Emilia Fox
Unashamedly a weepie, MUM'S LIST is based on the true story of terminally ill Kate (Emilia Fox), who left behind a series of life lessons in texts and on Post-It notes for her young sons when she died from untreatable breast cancer. They were collected into a list by her husband St John – Singe – (Rafe Spall) and published by Penguin Books as the bestselling novel on which the film is based, which Singe has adapted for the film.
We see him as a grief-stricken widower collecting his two boys from school on a dismal day when his loss is still very raw. In well-integrated flashbacks, the film tells the story of Kate and Singe’s lives together in seaside Somerset, from their first meeting at a roller-skating rink as teenagers, their happy life as a little family with their two boys until Kate first finds the lump in her breast, followed by her surgery and chemotherapy.
It’s miserable yet also life-affirming, though the actual contents of the list, whilst they are perceptive insights and maxims on how to live a good life, are perhaps a little too slight to sustain a feature-length film. Kate speaks them to camera, and as Singe puts them into practice after her death they flash up as accompanying text on screen. Spall, Fox and Elaine Cassidy (as a family friend) can’t be faulted in their heartfelt performances and it’s sensitively directed by Niall Johnson (White Noise, Keeping Mum). To anyone going through similar difficult times, its well-meant common sense will be inspirational.
MUM'S LIST is released on Digital & DVD 20 March 2017.
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