Mom – Tush Push and Some Radishes
By: Julie Mante
After their AA meeting ends, Jill (Jaime Pressly) decides to teach Christy (Anna Faris) how to line dance for her upcoming date. As Christy, Wendy (Beth Hall), Marjorie (Mimi Kennedy) and Bonnie (Allison Janney) follow Jill’s dance instruction, Bonnie’s phone rings. Bonnie tells them in a dull tone that her mother passed away. Bonnie continues to dance while everyone else freezes. When the foursome head to the bistro, everyone is concerned about Bonnie. She is chewing on her burger and pretending everything is fine. She assures her friends she is doing fine. Christy tells the group that her grandmother passed away at the hospital and died peacefully. Bonnie makes a quip that she did not die fast enough and gets an admonishment from Wendy. While Wendy is a blubbering mess for a woman she never met, Bonnie has no emotional response to the woman who abandoned her when she was a young child. Christy tells her mother that they have to go to San Francisco to clean out Bonnie’s mother’s apartment. Bonnie is not interested in going.
Later that night, Christy wakes up and finds that her mother is not in bed. Christy goes downstairs and finds Bonnie. Bonnie is no mood to talk and Christy is fed up with her mother’s attitude. She tells Bonnie that even though she doesn’t care that she lost her mother, Christy cares that her grandmother died. Bonnie asks Christy if they never reconnected and she died, would Christy mourn her? Christy says she would. Bonnie presses her by saying that for many years they were not speaking and she wonders if Christy thought about her during those days and Christy said that she did. Christy is able to convince her mom to go to the apartment by saying they can sell anything valuable they find.
While Bonnie is searching for valuables at the apartment, Christy is using the time to learn more about her grandmother. Bonnie found some old VHS tapes that her mother used to record soap operas. When Bonnie opens the freezer she finds a storage bag filled with cash. Lots of cash. When they count it, the total amount is $5522. They did not have a calculator nearby so they estimated the amount is between five and six thousand dollars. When Christy assumes that they will split the money, Bonnie pulls the “she was my mother card” and Christy reminds Bonnie that Bonnie would not know about the money without Christy encouraging them to go to the apartment. As they were ready to leave, a black man enters the apartment. When they ask him why he is here, he says that this is his mother’s apartment.
When Ray (Leonard Roberts) reveals that his mother is Shirley Stabler, the same name as Bonnie’s mother, they are shocked. Christy shows him the letter they got from Shirley’s lawyer. When he mentions that his mother told him to look in the freezer, things get uncomfortable. When he checks in the freezer, all he finds is frozen peas. When he goes outside to answer a call, Bonnie is upset that her mother kept her brother but discarded her. Bonnie tells Christy not to say anything about the money. After they learn he is a lawyer, Ray gives Bonnie a card to call him if she ever wants to talk. As he is about to leave, Christy tells him about the money. He tells them to keep it. This makes Bonnie upset because she feels like he is pitying her. She tells him that she does not need any charity, throws the money in his face and storms out. Christy apologizes for her mother’s behavior. She asks him if he is okay with them taking the money. Bonnie storms back into the apartment and is furious that her mother would pay for Ray to go to law school. He is quick to tell her that he put himself through law school. He tells her that Shirley gave him no financial help with his higher education. He knows that Bonnie had a tough life, but his life was no picnic either. His dad left them. Ray was a gay black man with a white mother who treated him badly. He wishes Christy good luck at college and leaves the apartment.
Christy feels bad that she convinced Bonnie to go to the apartment. She thought cleaning the apartment would give Bonnie closure, but now it has opened more painful wounds. While Bonnie is bemoaning about how tough her life continues to be, Christy reminds her that everyone has tough times. Bonnie points out that Ray seems to be living a good life despite having Shirley as a mother. Christy advises her mother to look at the positive things in her and not to compare herself with others. At the bistro, Christy tells Marjorie, Wendy and Jill about their San Francisco trip. Jill stops by Bonnie’s to talk, but Bonnie is in no mood to talk. When Jill was dealing with her own mother issues, Marjorie told her to write a letter to her mom. The purpose was for Jill to write all the things she wanted to say to her mother, but never got the chance to. She tells Bonnie that she read the letter at her mom’s grave site. Jill found the process helpful.
The next day, Bonnie visits Shirley’s grave and reads her letter. It was a very emotional scene. The most powerful part of her speech actually is not in her letter, but what she realizes as she reads it. She says, “I can’t keep doing this. You have been the great excuse of my life. I blamed you for everything. It’s all on you. I can’t believe I’m going to say this but I’m sorry. I don’t like you. I don’t have to like you, but you’re not responsible for my life. I am responsible for my life. You’re off the hook. Rest in peace.”
In the closer, Christy decides to write her own “dead mom letter” while Bonnie is sleeping. When Bonnie wakes up and Christy explains what she is doing, Bonnie pretends to sleep so Christy can read the letter. Bonnie does not want to listen to letter anymore so she rises from the bed and startles Christy by making a loud noise and scaring her. As Christy runs away, she yells, “That’s going in the letter!”