Metro movie critic Anne Brodie talks about her travels through the world of film with her mother.

My mother is Lorna Mary Morris Lawrence Brodie, a very proper 89-year-old English war veteran who watched Allied bombers fly across the channel to France on D-Day from her radar desk.

She met my father, Col. John Brodie, and came to Canada with him as a war bride, where she knew no one. She raised three children, later alone, and didn’t have time for movies. She worried as I frittered hours away at the show or glued to TV. She was energetic and curious, travelling to Turkey, China, Scandinavia, South America, Europe preferring real life to reel life.

“Man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” was her mantra.


But in the last several years as she slowed down, movies brought us together in unexpected ways. She asks me about the films I screen and wishes me “good inspiration” to write the reviews. Mother came to the occasional screening and junket in L.A., where she waltzed with Mel Gibson in the lobby of the Four Seasons.

Gradually she opened her mind to films and developed a passion for documentaries. We used to watch films in the nursing home theatre. but that got to be a bit too much for her. It’s bittersweet and urgent as her health fails, but we manage laughs and connection. I tell her elaborate movie plots, like Scheherazade. She recently gave me her collection of Hollywood star cigarette cards from the ’30s that I long coveted.

Our tastes are dissimilar; she doesn’t care much for “old” films, which I love, because she doesn’t like looking backwards. Here are some of her favourites:

The Cider House Rules, romantic, sexy and set in the New England countryside
Harry un ami qui vous veut du bien / With a Friend Like Harry, a thriller, set in the French countryside
The Sound of Music, that musical set in the Swiss countryside, which I refused to watch after the umpteenth time
The Weeping Camel, she never cried, this made her cry.

Latest From ...