Vanessa Redgrave and Timothy Spall are always watchable but Mrs Lowry & Son lacks the quality they deserve
“Anything’s possible living in Pendlebury”
Mrs Lowry & Son has two things going for it, in the shape of up-and-coming names Vanessa Redgrave and Timothy Spall in its two leading roles. Watch out for them, they’re bound to go far etc etc… What this biopic-of-sorts lacks though, is a film to match their talents.
Martyn Hesford has adapted his own radio play for the screen here and Adrian Noble’s direction does little to disguise the static staginess of its very nature. It covers the relationship between renowned artist LS Lowry and his unsupportive bed-ridden mother, at the point where his artistic career has yet to truly flourish.
They – and we – are trapped in Elizabeth’s bedroom as she bemoans the loss of her social status due to a feckless husband and rubbishes her son’s efforts, spending his days as a rent collector so that he can devote his evenings to his mother and his art, specifically in that order.
And there really isn’t much more to it than that, a vicious circle of Northern misery that endlessly retreads the same ground. Noble does little to effectively break out of this monotony, even in flashback, and Hesford’s determination to forefront this relationship means there’s but a teast of the artistic acclaim ahead for Lowry himself. Dull and disappointing I’m afraid.