DAUGHTER OF MINE – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

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Set against the raw and rocky primordial landscape of Sardinia, Laura Bispuri’s Daughter of Mine is an intriguing if loosely told tale of two mothers, feral party-girl Angelica (Alba Rohrwacher) who gave birth to a look-alike daughter and Tina (Valeria Golina, hardly aged since starring in 1988’s Rain Man), a church-going factory worker with raven tresses who has invested her whole life to making sure the girl has been raised right and wants for nothing. She even sleeps in her child’s room rather than with her husband.

The script would not have worked if anyone had ever told the shy flame-haired Vittoria (Sara Casu), who is on the cusp of turning 10, about the events that led her to this maternal crossroads. But at a rodeo, the sprite of a youngster spies a tipsy woman whom she resembles engaging in a sexual way with a rough-hewn man. When Vittoria sees her again under different circumstances, a storm cloud of questions starts to gather in her mind.

There are hints that matters might take a tragic turn as the she is drawn to the exotic, out-of-control Angelica, who values nothing more than a free drink, but never really do. Instead, I admired the visual depictions of nature vs. nurture, both animal and human, which is at the core of this dilemma.

But no payoff that Tina can offer Angelica can alleviate the emotional tug of war that places Vittoria at the center. Instead, it is suggested the girl herself is the combination these two polar-opposite women and might lead the way. At one point, a drunken Angelica demands cashews from a bartender and observes that a cashew is nothing more than “a crippled peanut.’

Nothing in Daughter of Mine is quite as fresh as that observation, but as a distinctly different kind of love triangle, it mostly succeeds thanks to its trio of effective performances.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Daughter of Mine is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for February 15, 2019

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Susan Wloszczyna

In her nearly 30 years at USA Today, Susan Wloszczyna interviewed everyone from Vincent Price and Shirley Temple to Julia Roberts and Will Smith. Her coverage specialties include animation, musicals, comedies and any film starring Hayley Mills, Sandy Dennis or hobbits. Her crowning career achievements so far, besides having Terence Stamp place his bare feet in her lap during an interview for The Limey, is convincing the paper to send her to New Zealand twice for set visits, once for The Return of the King and the other for The Chronicles of Narnia and King Kong, and getting to be a zombie extra and interview George Romero in makeup on the set for Land of the Dead. Though not impressive enough for Pulitzer consideration, she also can be blamed for coining the moniker "Frat Pack," often used to describe the comedy clique that includes Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell. Her positions have included Life section copy desk chief for four years and a film reviewer for 12 years. She is currently a contributor for the online awards site Gold Derby and is an Oscar expert for RogerEbert.com. Previously, she has been a freelance film reporter and critic, contributing regularly to RogerEbert.com, MPAA’s The Credits, the Washington Post, AARP The Magazine online and Indiewire as well as being a book reviewer for The Buffalo News. She previously worked as a feature editor at the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, N.Y. A Buffalo native, she earned her bachelor's degree in English at Canisius College and a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.