In the movie Grace, you can’t help but ask, “How far can a mother go for her child?” While, this is normally interpreted in a positive way, the movie twists motherly love into something positively freaky. It might not have been the first time I watched the movie, but Grace still bothered me immensely. It made me seriously question why I (or anyone) would want to be a mother.
Society teaches all young girls that motherhood (and of course being a wife) is part of their destiny. We’re taught to caring and nurturing that we might easily adapt to this role in the future. We’re taught to want it, almost desperately, especially when our biological clock is supposed to start ticking. Madeline embodies this need. You could tell from the opening scene that the sex was purely for procreative purposes (at least for her), there was no indication that it was a moment of intimacy between Madeline and Henry, as she seemed focused on something beyond them. To her, nothing seemed more important than getting her baby. Even when the baby is supposed to be dead, she still wants it. Even when Grace turns out to be a bloodsucking, flesh-eating zombie baby, Madeline still wants her and sacrifices everything for her. Maybe I’m being selfish, but is it really reasonable to give everything, blood and body, for someone? Her actions seemed to reflect a Christ-like martyrdom and an immense, incomparable love. It felt unreasonable for me, but that seems to be how motherly love is represented in this movie – immense and unconditional.
Love, of course, is great, but the brand of love shown in Grace bordered on obsessive, neurotic, and altogether too unhealthy. This was not just on the part of Madeline, but with Vivian as well. The role of mother seems to have a prime place in her life as she doesn’t seem to share a strong emotional connection with her husband, in the sense that they are partners trying to live out their lives together.Vivian is way too attached and controlling. She couldn’t let go of her fully-grown son, and when he dies, transfers her smothering attention onto her daughter-in-law. And when that doesn’t work, she seeks to be a mother again by trying to take Grace away. It’s no small wonder that Madeline avoids her as much as possible.
Granted, motherhood isn’t that extreme in real-life, at the very least the chances of having a monster baby is pretty miniscule. But being a mother, with all its joys and the satisfaction women get from fulfilling this role, is still about sacrifice. That was the most salient and unforgettable point I got from this movie. So, while motherhood may be for some women, I’m starting to feel it’s not quite for me.