Late helmer Rasoul Mollgholipour’s “M for Mother” marks a low point for recent Iranian film and a sad coda for the director, indulging in hysterical overdramatics that dare audience cackles. An unfortunate selection by Iran for the Acad’s foreign Oscar race — particularly when there were far better options — pic’s excessively wrought telling of the struggles of a mom and her kid, both musically gifted and both victims of Iraq’s poison gas bombs, shatters a serious subject. Prospects overseas are zilch.
After Sepideh’s (Golshifteh Farahani) aspirations as a classical violinist are squelched by her domineering government bureaucrat husband Soheil (Hossein Yari), and her child Saeed (Mohammad Ali Shadman) is born with defects resulting from Sepideh’s exposure to mustard gas during Iran’s war with Iraq, the new mom is left to fend for herself and raise the boy on her own. Pic’s feminist slant on nasty husbands is by now an exhausted talking point, and the drama’s risible pattern of sending characters to the edge of death, and then letting them live another day, becomes an inadvertent gag that ruins the drama’s serious intentions.