My Mother Had Fourteen Children

An indulgent exercise in post-mortem cross-examination, vet Swedish TV director Lars-Lennart Forsberg's docu "My Mother Had Fourteen Children" spends 80 minutes in a sulk over the benign neglect suffered as part of an unduly huge brood.

As Joan Crawford might well attest, for posterity’s sake it’s wise to treat your children well — they have time on their side, and many confessional media forums at their disposal. An indulgent exercise in post-mortem cross-examination, vet Swedish TV director Lars-Lennart Forsberg’s docu “My Mother Had Fourteen Children” spends 80 minutes in a sulk over the benign neglect suffered as part of an unduly huge brood.

Though handsome and well-crafted, B&W pic offers little revelation beyond the rather unflattering one of a 68-year-old filmmaker still smarting from lack of familial attention. Bracketed by pretentious segs of Forsberg addressing his parents’ grave sites, feature is otherwise wholly assembled from photographs depicting Stockholm’s “biggest family” through the decades. Mother Marta was a pastor’s only child who scandalized her Bible school at age 15 by socializing with a somewhat older male classmate, future tailor Karl-Filip.

Marrying once she reached 18, duo went on to conceive 14 children from 1917 through the late 1930s despite financial hardship, health problems and frustrated personal goals (both parents had artistic/intellectual leanings).

The kids seem to have turned out pretty well (several contrib voiceover commentary here), yet tone is set by helmer’s droning narration, which ponders the why of childbearing excess without finding any answers. It’s unclear whether helmer’s sibs feel the same lingering resentment; in any case, he certainly does enough whining for all of them.

Apparently vast store of photographic mementos (one brother was a serious shutterbug) is well-edited into a chronological saga. Auteur also contribs a spare, repetitious, suitably pathos-tinged piano score.

My Mother Had Fourteen Children

Sweden

Production: A Swedish Film Institute production in association with Sveriges Television and Amanata Film & TV. Produced, directed, written, edited by Lars-Lennart Forsberg.

Crew: Camera (B&W), Lennart Bang, Michael Rosengren; music, Forsberg. Reviewed at San Francisco Film Festival, May 1, 2001. Running time: 80 MIN.

More Film

  • Director Hirokazu Kore-eda holds the Palme

    Juliette Binoche, Ethan Hawke Confirmed for Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ‘Verite’

    As Joan Crawford might well attest, for posterity’s sake it’s wise to treat your children well — they have time on their side, and many confessional media forums at their disposal. An indulgent exercise in post-mortem cross-examination, vet Swedish TV director Lars-Lennart Forsberg’s docu “My Mother Had Fourteen Children” spends 80 minutes in a sulk […]

  • ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

    Korea Box Office: ‘Ant-Man’ Stays Bigger Than ‘Skyscraper’

    As Joan Crawford might well attest, for posterity’s sake it’s wise to treat your children well — they have time on their side, and many confessional media forums at their disposal. An indulgent exercise in post-mortem cross-examination, vet Swedish TV director Lars-Lennart Forsberg’s docu “My Mother Had Fourteen Children” spends 80 minutes in a sulk […]

  • China Box Office: 'Dying' Holds off

    China Box Office: 'Dying to Survive' Scores $69 Million, Holds Off 'Hidden Man'

    As Joan Crawford might well attest, for posterity’s sake it’s wise to treat your children well — they have time on their side, and many confessional media forums at their disposal. An indulgent exercise in post-mortem cross-examination, vet Swedish TV director Lars-Lennart Forsberg’s docu “My Mother Had Fourteen Children” spends 80 minutes in a sulk […]

  • Elsie Fisher appears in I Think

    'Eighth Grade' Rules Indie Box Office With Top Screen Average of 2018

    As Joan Crawford might well attest, for posterity’s sake it’s wise to treat your children well — they have time on their side, and many confessional media forums at their disposal. An indulgent exercise in post-mortem cross-examination, vet Swedish TV director Lars-Lennart Forsberg’s docu “My Mother Had Fourteen Children” spends 80 minutes in a sulk […]

  • International Box Office: 'Hotel Transylvania 3'

    'Hotel Transylvania 3' Climbs Past 'Skyscraper' at International Box Office

    As Joan Crawford might well attest, for posterity’s sake it’s wise to treat your children well — they have time on their side, and many confessional media forums at their disposal. An indulgent exercise in post-mortem cross-examination, vet Swedish TV director Lars-Lennart Forsberg’s docu “My Mother Had Fourteen Children” spends 80 minutes in a sulk […]

  • Box Office: 'Skyscraper' Underperforms; 'Hotel Transylvania

    Box Office: 'Skyscraper' Gets Rocky Start as 'Hotel Transylvania 3' Checks In at No. 1

    As Joan Crawford might well attest, for posterity’s sake it’s wise to treat your children well — they have time on their side, and many confessional media forums at their disposal. An indulgent exercise in post-mortem cross-examination, vet Swedish TV director Lars-Lennart Forsberg’s docu “My Mother Had Fourteen Children” spends 80 minutes in a sulk […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content