#SheReviews Mothering Sunday

June 27, 2022

Based on Graham Swift’s novel published in 2016 this British romantic and sexy period drama is set in the wake of World War I. The Mothering Sunday story transpires in 1924 over the course of one day on Mother’s Day, the holiday Mothering Sunday. 

It begins slowly and your attention is upheld wondering where the plot will take you as it develops into an interesting turn of events not knowing how it will all end up. 

I immediately recognised the actors from their former roles.  The talented young star, Odessa Young is an Australian actor known for her roles in Looking For Grace, The Daughter and the web series High Life. She is sensuous and stunning in her role as Jane Fairchild the maid employed by Mr and Mrs Niven (Colin Firth and Olivia Colman). There are no inhibitions in Jane as she wanders alone and naked through her lover’s house. 

British actor Josh O’Connor, we are familiar with as he has played diverse characters in his many roles, particularly, The Durrell’s, Prince Charles in the Netflix series The Crown Season 3God’s Own Country and Les Miserables. In Mothering Sunday he is Paul, son of the Niven’s neighbours. 

The surprise emergence of Academy Award Winner Glenda Jackson was a treat, it has been over thirty years since she appeared on a theatrical release. 

The costumes, dresses, hats, shoes, jewellery and hair do’s were beautifully designed and crafted, the English countryside picturesque. 

The Story

This story is about a storyteller telling her story. Jane Fairchild has the day off, as Mr and Mrs Niven are attending an event to celebrate the engagement of their neighbours’ son, Paul. 

Jane is a maid and an orphan and has no mother nor family to spend the day with. But she has someone to turn to, her wealthy neighbour Paul, with whom she’s been having a years-long secret affair. They spend their final days together as lovers before he reluctantly prepares to attend his engagement celebrations with Emma, a woman in his social circle.  

As the story unfolds things are about to change for Jane, Paul and their family and friends. Jane is devastated by an unexpected tragedy suffering in silence and decides to change her career and pursue her passion as a writer. This was a major switch for a single woman in the early 1900s yet had full support from her employers.

Later in life when Jane becomes a writer she marries philosopher Donald (played by Sope Dirisu) who supports her fully in her writing pursuit. Unfortunately, in time he discovers he has cancer and needed to resolve an unanswered question with Jane. 

There were three incidents in Janes’s life, two of which Donald knew about, and the third, sadly he never found out about even when he begged her to tell him on his death bed. He is her strongest inspiration in life and years later we see Jane as an old woman (Glenda Jackson) who has won numerous literary prizes.

A lovely and pensive film to watch and its slow-moving pace makes for the construction of the story.

Cast & Crew


Josh O’Connor (Paul Niven)

Odessa Young (Jane Fairchild)

Colin Firth (Mr Niven)

Olivia Coleman (Mrs Niven)

Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù (Donald)

Glenda Jackson (as an older Jane Fairchild)

Director: Eva Husson

Writer: Alice Birch, Graham Swift (based on his novel

Producers: Elizabeth Karlsen, Stephen Woolley

In Cinemas June 2 

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