Indie Movie Review

Mother of All Shows: Spoiler-Free Review

Can “Funny,” “Musical,” and “Generational Trauma” work in a single movie? You bet your french fries, mustard, and pepper they do!


On its official website, Mother of All Shows is described as a Mother / Daughter Traumedy, and that’s a wonderful description for Melissa D’Agostino’s first feature.

For those of us navigating the fraught waters of how to deal with narcissistic parents or negative body image, not only will this resonate, but there’s healing and redemption in there, too. Mother of All Shows was written by Melissa D’Agostino and David James Brock and directed by Melissa D’Agostino and Matthew Campagna.

Mother of All Shows, Courtesy of HighballTV

Liza’s (Melissa D’Agostino) mother, Rosa (Wendie Malick) is dying — and the only way that Liza has to deal with that impending fact is to take solace in her mind — where it’s all a 1970’s variety show that is hosted by her mother. People from her past and present — including her supportive and doting boyfriend Alan (Darryl Hinds), her father (Michael A. Miranda), her cousin (Tarah Consoli), and her high school boyfriend (Phil Luzi) — are all paraded through the segments in her mind, complete with period-appropriate commercials for products like “Shame Flakes.”

The film tells the story of their complicated relationship through the medium of the variety show, and the sparkling costumes and poppy scenery belie the emotional traumas Liza is working through. In one ‘Mating Game’ segment, Rosa castigates Liza for choosing Alan. In another cooking segment, Rosa mocks Liza’s appearance — from her choice of dress to her weight, even as Liza literally asks her for body kindness.

This funny musical brings some big feelings with it — people who have had to go no contact with narcissistic family members will find Liza’s conversation with her cousin during a ‘Christmas Shopping’ sketch all-too-familiar. Those who have had to deal with difficult parental relationships will be moved by an animated sketch.

But what is really happening is that Liza is trying to decide if she should reach out to her mother in the long-term care home where she resides, or if she can see her mother without losing…



Jamie Toth, The Somewhat Cyclops

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