Freaks of Nurture is a stop-motion animation directed and animated by Alex Lemay from National Film Board of Canada.
This film showcases the neurotic relationship between a daughter mother, inspired by the writers own relationship with her single-parent mother. The story starts with the daughter seated in a quiet film studio, stressed from work. The camera shifts to a middle-aged woman, who is heavily occupied by looking after crying babies and barking dogs. We are introduced to the fact that they are mother and daughter as soon as the daughter calls her mom on the phone.
Their phone call is a conversation filled with disruption and frustration, hence the daughter heads to her mother’s home to find a dinosaur prop for her film. As she realises that her mom could not find this particular dinosaur prop, the pair begin to bicker. The daughter leaves on an angry note but soon regrets it as she sits and reflects back in her studio. Moments later, she finds her mother at the door (with the crying babies and barking dogs) ready to apologise. The film ends with the words of the daughter, “I didn’t get it then, but looking back, I realised that my mother was just… trying to do her best. We’re all just… trying to keep it together.”
Following the puppet making workshop over the Easter holidays, I came to really appreciate the puppets when watching anything created in stop-motion! The puppets in this film were particularly well- designed and aesthetically pleasing. The main characters had more complex features whereas, the babies and dogs had more simple structures with allowed for basic movements.
For me, this film was actually quite cinematic. The choice of camera shots were very fitting and made it look very cinematic. For example, POVs and close ups.
My Favourite Part:
My favourite part was actually the set up! Aside from the puppets, I thoroughly enjoyed the attention to details in creating this world! My favourite details include the drawings on the wall, the miniature coats and boots in the hallway, the lego pieces on the floor, and the mother’s boots. I loved the fact that the creators went the extra mile to create so many of these realistic props!
I also enjoyed the fact that the daughter was actually a stop-motion animator herself! The irony!
The message and story was very clear and simple, which I found charming. It depicted a rather ‘stereotypical’ relationship between mother and daughter and brought light to the mundane. It shows that regardless of how mature we think we are, we never stop wanting love and comfort from our parents. As a daughter myself, I found elements of this very relatable and hence engaging!
References: National Film Board of Canada (2019). Freaks of Nurture. [ video ] Available at: https://vimeo.com/334051941 [Accessed 7 Jun. 2019].