Film review: Katie’s Mom (Dances With Films 26)

A long time ago, there was a film called The Graduate in which a young Dustin Hoffman falls for his girlfriend’s mother, Mrs Robinson. A couple of decades later, there was a film called Class where a young Andrew McCarthy falls for his classmate’s mother.

And now, Katie’s Mom, in which there is an attraction between Katie (Julia Tolchin)’s mother Nancy (Dina Meyer) and boyfriend Alex (Aaron Dominguez).

It’s played very much for comedy on the surface with the boyfriend even having the look of a stereotypical porn star, but there’s a real story going on here about reality and wish fulfillment.

Very forthright about sex and about young love, Katie’s Mom also works hard to make all three main characters sympathetic, even if all have failings, which make them annoying on the surface.

Katie and Alex have a strong physical connection, but there seems to be little else binding them together. Chats and life goals seem more in synergy with him and Nancy, but her motivation is less clear, and we might suspect, as Katie says “he’s not your pal, he feels sorry for you”.

Screencap from Katie's Mom

Written by Meryl Branch McTiernan and Tyrrell Shaffner, and directed by Shaffner, Katie’s Mom is a domestic dramedy that ends in a way that lets everyone get their problems out of their system.

There’s a funny scene in a car wash, a wince-inducing dinner, a difficult date and some sex scenes which fall far short of being graphic. Peripheral characters are fine: the young female doctor (Christine Weatherup); Katie’s brother Eli (Colin Bates); Nancy’s date Jeff (Rib Hillis).

I enjoyed this film and felt it captured the older woman’s perspective as she realises she is being a fool. Sensitive writing doesn’t quite evoke The Graduate but at least we see the other side of the story in Katie’s Mom.

Katie’s Mom is showing as part of the Dances With Films 26 festival on 2 Jul at TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles. Tickets here.