[ONE NIGHT ONLY, DIRECTOR ATTENDING] Could anything seem more antithetical to the rock-’n’-roll lifestyle than child-rearing? Portland filmmaker Jackie Weismann’s portrait of musician mothers (and, tangentially, fathers) holds an inherent allure. Weismann follows three artists, all with Portland connections, at different stages in their careers: the Dandy Warhols’ Zia McCabe, hip-hop MC Ms. Su’ad, and Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses and 50 Foot Wave. Over the course of 60 minutes, Rock N Roll Mamas cycles through interviews with each woman, lazy Susan-style. But the film’s brevity does its subjects a disservice, flattening out what makes each mother’s situation unique and glossing over major events ranging from divorce to homelessness. By letting talking heads dispense sound bites rather than shooting, say, fly-on-the-wall style, the documentary also misses opportunities to convey more organically the erratic rhythms that constant touring and performing introduce into family life. But then again, the cutesy title—along with the brightly colored animated interstitials featuring the ladies rocking out with their kids—should’ve tipped us off: Though the film tries to examine some distinctive parenting challenges, it’s not built to accommodate a satisfying exploration of the darker-edged complexities of the work-life balance.
- Genres: Biography, Documentary
- Running Time: 60 minutes
- Country: United States
- Language: English
- Critic's Score: C-
- Directed by: Jackie Weissman [Director], Jackie Weissman [Producer], Tara Johnson-Medinger [Producer], Allison Anders [Executive Producer], Zia McCabe [Original Music], Jackie Weissman [Film Editor], Emily Gilbert [Film Editor]
- Watch the trailer