DVD Review: Hungry Hearts
Parenting Fails: The Movie
Jude (Adam Driver) meets an Italian woman named Mina (Alba Rohrwacher) by chance in New York City one night. They fall in love, when Mina mentions having to move away for work, Jude gets her pregnant when she specifically tells him to pull out. After having a strange reoccurring dream after their wedding, Mina becomes obsessed with "toxins" and "purity" in food, and it has dramatic results for her and their newborn son.
The premise of this film is really interesting, but it became so implausible that all I wanted was for it to be over. This film does something rather extraordinary in making the dude that didn't listen to his wife during sex to be the more likable party. Sound impossible? It isn't. Mina refuses to eat during her pregnancy. Ignoring doctor's advice about morning sickness and thinking her body is trying to "detox" itself. When she doesn't gain enough weight to have a natural labor, she has to have a C-section, which she holds as a slight over Jude. She becomes obsessed with germs and toxins. She doesn't vaccinate, and won't give her son antibiotics when he runs a fever for over two weeks. She doesn't allow him in direct sunlight either . When her milk supply stopped at 4 months, instead of getting formula she weaned him on solid food consisting of mostly seeds and avocados. In doing so, her seven month old child looks like he's two months. Jude inexplicably doesn't question her about any of this right away. He smuggles his son off to see a doctor, who informs him that his son is malnourished and in the 7th percentile. He says to feed him meat to help him gain weight. So what does Mina do with this information? She takes him in the bathroom with her after every meal to feed him oil so he doesn't absorb the nutrients from the food.
So we have Mina, a delusional child abuser and Jude who doesn't do shit about it for seven months? It's one thing to watch a film with unlikable characters and still be interested in their journey, but this film didn't do anything with their story. No grand statement on mental illness, no epiphany for Mina, no calls to social services. Mina's character had sympathy practically gift wrapped for her at first, yet she remains completely unlikable throughout. I have no respect for parents who endanger their children like this. Jude had redeeming qualities but all of those went out the window when he didn't do more. I give him credit for trying but he was going about it all the wrong way.
The film's only redeemable quality is Adam Driver's excellent performance. He's a brilliant actor, but even he can't save this.
Memorable Quote: "I go to this church three times a day just so I can feed him ham." - Jude (Adam Driver)