Mum’s List is a film I have waited a very long time to watch. In fact, I’ve probably been following this project from the moment I heard about it. However, to my despair it wasn’t showing in any cinemas near me upon its initial release in November last year, so I had to wait for the DVD release…
I’d been keen to see it primarily due to the fact I’m a fan of Emilia Fox and she plays one of the lead characters, but aside from that, despite not having read the book, I was intrigued to see the depiction of this incredibly heartbreaking yet inspiring true story.
If you are not aware of the story, it started with the book of the same name by St John Greene (aka Singe) which is based on the real life events of himself and his wife Kate. The couple from North Somerset quickly have their lives were turned upside down when Kate is diagnosed with an incurable breast cancer. In her final few days, Kate created her list: writing out her thoughts and memories, to help the man she loved create the best life possible for their two sons after she was gone.
A heartbreaking tale of which hits close to home for so many of us. Yet, despite it’s rather sombre tale, the point of this story is also that it’s a heartwarming one. The message is that life is short, and we need to treasure it; and although these terrible things may happen to any one of us, we can’t let that sadness take over. We’re better off turning it into something brighter, by letting the happy memories live on and continue living our lives in the fullest way we can.
As strange as it may sound, I’m actually a great fan of dramas that tell real life and inspiring stories like this, because I love the sense of perspective they give you and that they make you think. However, I have to be honest and admit that this was probably one of the toughest films I’ve put myself through watching due to the fact this was much closer to home than usual, and I’d also invested some time watching interviews with the real Singe and their two boys.
Kate was clearly a wonderful woman, with a heart as pure as gold. I couldn’t admire her more for turning a sad situation into a positive one, through ensuring she made the most of her final days and wanting to be remembered in the smallest yet most significant of ways. Emilia Fox’s depiction of her was truly stunning. You may think I’m being biased due to being a fan (and perhaps I am a little), but having seen a lot of films with similar themes, with characters played by Hollywood actresses – her acting was easily up there as one of the best drama performances I’ve seen. While it may be partly her own choice as an actress, I can’t help but question why Emilia doesn’t get more lead roles, higher praise and accolades as she truly deserves more credit than she gets. I honestly couldn’t see anyone else in that role playing it with such heart, and I think Kate would be very proud of the portrayal.
As for Singe and the children, it must have been an interesting challenge for Rafe Spall and the child actors (William and Matthew Stagg) to play out the lives of people who are not only very much alive, but so very close to the project and emotionally involved in this story. However, I think they all did a stunning job – especially when you look at interviews with the real Singe, Reef and Finn. A credit also goes to Rachel (Elaine Cassidy) and the young version of Singe & Kate (Ross McCormack and Sophie Simnett) as they gave equally charming performances.
Visually and musically, it’s very aesthetically pleasing with its gorgeous Somerset and Clevedon scenery. I loved the heart-wrenching contrasts between the past and present, in cleverly using the same locations to jolt certain memories. It gave a real insight into their lives and the journey the couple and family have been on. There is some wonderful cinematography too, most notably when Kate reads her list directly into the camera – you can sense every word and emotion in that moment. The music is great too, with a nice mix of artists including James Morrison, Una Healy and Imelda May. Though I personally enjoyed “Teenage Kicks” as I adore that song and clearly they did too.
Overall, while it may hit a few nerves and be a challenging watch at times (especially if the subject matter is close to home), I think it’s definitely a story worth hearing and sharing. It helps you appreciate the value of life, love, friendship and family; and in particular it made me feel very fortunate that my family have been lucky. And I’m so inspired by the families bravery and strength, and the fact they’re doing all that they can to make the best of their situation and live out Kate’s legacy. All involved should be very proud. Acres and acres.★★★★ Out now on DVD/iTunes in the UK.
♥ MOLLY THE BLOGGER ♥