Mother lode

Susan Sarandon adds yet another panel to her gallery of modern American moms

And yet, true to form, Sarandon once again hints that beneath the universal desire of a mother to protect her family lurks something stranger, darker, and more elusive--a spark of inexplicable compulsion, maybe even madness. (In a stunning, unexpected sequence, she defends her youngest boy from a dog attack by intercepting the animal in mid-leap, grabbing it in a headlock, and nearly strangling it to death.) This character is so hell-bent on protecting her children from harm that she sometimes verges on shielding them from life itself, and Sarandon acknowledges this truth by showing the insecurity and irrational fury behind this woman's warm, nurturing, protective facade. It's a capper to a remarkable phase of a remarkable career--a portrait of the suburban mother as avenging angel.

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