Are You My Mother?

I was vaguely disappointed by this piece of the diptych about Bechdel’s parents, her grand reveal of father in the stunning Fun Home and somewhat bland exploration of mother in this one. Saturated with endless scenes on the therapist couch, agonizing over the relationship, peering into Winnicott’s theories and writings (also recently reminded of those in The Argonauts recently), chockablock filled with quotes from Virginia Woolf alongside a great detailed analysis of the removal of the word “feminist” in a dinner party scene from To the Lighthouse, which had previously included the word three times. I suppose it’s a daunting task to explore the bond with your mother while it still exists, whereas her father’s death had been chewed through in analysis. We get the constant drumbeat of the daily phone calls between them, with mom always headed off to do her “puzzle” in the NYTimes, and a consistent theme of wanting to avoid discussing Bechdel’s sexual identification as a lesbian. Some good bits but mostly comes off as completely and disastrously self-centered, with no real plot except to chart the arc of her struggle with the story of writing about her mother.