French-Australian co-production Two Mothers has received underwhelming reviews after its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
The film, one of the first to be produced by Hopscotch Features, marks French director Anne Fontaine's first English-language feature. It is based on The Grandmothers, written by British author Doris Lessing, and stars Naomi Watts and Robin Wright as women who controversially enter into relationships with each other's sons (played by Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville).
The New York Times blog, The Carpetbagger, said the film was received poorly: "The premiere was greeted with by laughter (not the good kind) – in part because of its over-the-top sex scenes".
A review in The Hollywood Reporter said French director Anne Fontaine, despite her accomplished cast, "summons neither the dramatic heft nor the humor to put across this absurd forbidden-love scenario".
The LA Times said early reviews of the film were mixed and "several buyers after the first screening were blunt in assessing the film’s shortcomings". It suggested that the film may be distributed through video-on-demand channels such as iTunes and DirecTV, where it could be a hit.
Salt Lake magazine noted that the film might be too "beautiful" but, noting the controversial topic, said audiences have seen many films about love between older men and young girls, which are passed off as acceptable. Collider.com and CraveOnline also published more nuanced reviews.
Two Mothers (which has also been titled The Grandmothers and Mothers at various times) is scheduled to be released in Australia later this year by Hopsotch/eOne.