Actors: Diana Rigg, David McCallum, James Wilby, Isla Blair, Natasha Byrne Directors: Simon Langton
Diana Rigg will scare you under the carpet in this story of "treachery, disloyalty" and family ties. A simple lie, Helena's son keeping in touch with his father but not telling his mother, spins wildly out of control, while Helena gradually suspects that her family are keeping information from her. The cleverly-constructed back story, showing that Helena was capable of terrible things as a child, cranks up the tension and gives a sense of terrible foreboding. Helena's paranoia and loneliness take over, creating a horrible revenge.
Almost camp in some scenes, (calling everyone "darling", giving her family nicknames and shopping at Fortnums), Diana Rigg gives an intense performance full of pain at the upsets of her past life and full of hatred at her ex-husband. She definitely deserved her Bafta award. Andrew Davies's screenplay is based on a novel by Domini Taylor, but he injects more wit into the proceedings and streamlines the action. Thankfully, a number of the book's more terrifying moments survive, with several scenes borrowed straight from the horror genre.
Mother Love zips along with pace and panache, strengthened by an effective cast, several neat twists and some memorable one-liners are darkly enjoyable.
200 minutes (approx)
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