Netflix’s latest star-studded comedy “Otherhood,” starring Patricia Arquette, Felicity Huffman and Angela Bassett, focuses on the complicated relationships mothers can have with their adult sons — or lack thereof. But that’s not all the heartwarming flick explores. It also showcases the “next step” of motherhood — essentially, what happens after your kids no longer need you to pack their lunch, give them rides to school or fix their problems. What the women in the film discover is that although their kids no longer need their help, they may need some help on their own.
Arquette sat down with Metro to discuss the film, dive into why this story is so relatable to everyone, and touch on why sometimes we take those we love the most for granted.
Patricia Arquette on how ‘Otherhood’ hilariously explores the reality of complicated relationships
“Otherhood” follows the deep friendship between hard-working mothers Gillian (Arquette), Carol (Bassett) and Helen (Huffman). After blatant snubs on Mother’s Day from their sons, the women decide to embark on a road trip and a maternal ambush to check in on how their sons are doing — and maybe find out a little dirt on their lives as well.
Being a mother herself, Arquette understood the innate desire Gillian had to simply just see her son. “I think she’s worried about her son. It’s not just about her son ignoring her on Mother’s Day or that she’s upset that he didn’t call her,” says Arquette. “It’s her maternal instinct driving her. She just wants to know, are you okay? Are you alive? Are you eating? Are you with that girl I don’t like?”
Although the film is lighthearted, hilarious and a lot of fun (cue the drunken antics three middle-aged women can get into in the Big Apple), it also has underlying messages that ring true for anyone. “Angela and I were talking about how relatable this movie is to different people at different times. I think all of these characters are relatable to a point. We all have been somebody’s child or we are someone’s mother or our wife is someone’s mother,” says Arquette.
At the surface, the women blame their strained relationships on a lot: their sons’ significant others, jobs, bad habits, or even themselves and their own mothering styles. The soul-searching leads the three mothers to overcompensate with their sons—whether it’s setting them up on hasty blind dates or even breaking into their “prison-like” apartment through a window.
What Arquette thinks Gillian needed to realize, though, is that focusing too much on the lives of others simply isn’t fulfilling to your own — which can be a hard pill to swallow. “I think she learned that her meddling can actually create a lot of problems, and that she doesn’t always know best and that she should trust her son and his instincts,” says Arquette. “I think she learned that her marriage also isn’t as perfect as she thought and those are both difficult things for her to come to terms with. Also, that she needs to be up higher on her own priority list.”
“Otherhood” as a comedy is a hilarious feat highlighted by the incredible cast of talent, directing chops from Cindy Chupack and a highly amusing story line. But even though the film at the surface may seem tied up in a neat bow, it certainly tests a lot: the fragile relationship adult children and their parents can have, the tumultuous costs decisions can have on a marriage, and even the boundaries of friendship.
“It’s really about realizing we can’t take our parents for granted, even if we are doing it subconsciously. But also you learn what are healthy boundaries for people to have. We’re not the same selves we were when we were kids, so let’s redefine who we are as grown-ups in our own right. What is the joy in our lives? I think it’s also a reminder not to take our marriages for granted. So it’s not just about one aspect, there’s a lot of different things.”