The XX Factor

Uma, Put Down the Pacifier and Step Away

More than half of adult women are mothers. It’s not a lifestyle. It’s not a trend. It’s just one of those things-you know, continuation of the species and all that. A biological urge complicated by societal factors that has been, not incidentally, the subject of great art and literature over the past few centuries. Into that pantheon comes Motherhood: The Movie , promoted by a trailer full of worn tropes and painful moments. Want to silence Uma Thurman, the ruthless killer bride of Kill Bill , Vols. 1 and 2? Stick a binkie in her mouth. Motherhood, the Great Infantilizer . How did we come to this?

Thurman doesn’t look particularly pacified in in the poster for her latest movie, but the film seems to have un-womaned her, putting her in the part of Manhattan mom, overwhelmed by the effort of caring for a pair of small children. Having kids doesn’t necessarily have to reduce your life to nothing but dishes and alternate-side parking (even the Bride of Bill ends up with a 4-year-old), but you wouldn’t know it from what’s on view so far of Motherhood: The Movie .

The trailer plays like a He’s Just Not That Into You -esque excuse to compile every clever moment from every good hipster mother rant of the last five years. But though the plot is vague, one thing is clear: Becoming a mother has sapped Uma Thurman of her energy, her sexuality, and her ability to get dressed before she leaves the house in the morning. She’s surrounded by mothers who think they’re better than she is, which really means they aren’t, because they spend all their time competing while poor Uma is just busy parenting. There’s a touch of mommy wars, a touch of gender wars, and an overall whiff of powerless incompetence, all in two short minutes. Didn’t women once complain that the media depicted us as Superwoman, able to bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and so forth? I suspect this character is a vegetarian.

I won’t wholly indict the movie without seeing it, but so far Motherhood: The Movie makes me want to disown the word “mother” entirely. Can we not manage to procreate without losing the rest of our identity in the process?