27 July 2005 | Snow Leopard
Effective Drama With Lillian Gish & More
Lillian Gish excels in one of her earlier starring roles, and the other characters and the story also help to make "The Mothering Heart" an effective drama that still holds up pretty well. Although some of the details are set in its own era, the general subject matter and the basic themes have not lost any of their force.
Gish plays a young wife whose troubled, erratic husband causes her a series of heartaches. Her characterization works very well, making the wife thoroughly sympathetic yet always believable. She shows restraint much of the time, while also giving indication of the emotions underneath, so that then the moments of emotional release are that much more effective and memorable.
Kate Bruce, as the young wife's mother, and Peggy Pearce (Viola Barry), as the wife's rival, also add their talents to the story. D.W. Griffith's technique is resourceful and solid, getting the most out of the setup.
Besides the good quality of the acting and the technique, the story also still works. Just substitute a few different details, and it provides a couple of thoughtful and sensitive insights on finding happiness at home.