Mrs Lowry and Son at The Rebel

The queues at The Rebel Cinema this weekend were for IT, but I’m not a horror kind of girl. Instead, we went to see Mrs Lowry and Son, partly spurred on by the quality of the actors, Timothy Spall and Vanessa Redgrave, but also partly because I like Lowry’s art, and often used to visit the Lowry Centre when living in the north. A friend also gave it a good review.

Let’s say it was dramatic and intense, but not uplifting.

Spall plays a browbeaten downtrodden Lowry living with his socially aspirational but disappointed, manipulative aged mother who can barely think of a nice thing to say about his work.

Lowry painted industrial landscapes in mid-twentieth-century Lancashire (primarily Salford). I must say I knew little of Lowry’s life with his bed-ridden mother, who seemed to spend her life expressing her disappointment in him. She was a thwarted concert pianist. She married his father, a rent collector, who singularly failed to fulfil her dreams. Her son was no better, so far as she was concerned. Rumour had it she wanted daughters.

In the film, she is an utterly toxic monstrous character. He is under his mother’s thumb, has the patience of a saint and comes across as very odd. In real life, Lowry never married or had children.

The actors play their parts extremely well, and I prefer Spall as Lowry to Spall as Turner, but see for yourself. It’s on this week.

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