It’s fitting that the protagonists in Hungry Hearts meet neat in the bowels of a Chinese restaurant in Manhattan. The bathroom door jams and the duo are literally trapped in an area the size of a closet. It’s a signal that plunging into the heart of this movie – food, one’s approach to it, the rules surrounding it, and the nurturing Lunar archetype – may be a slippery slope.
Directed by Saverio Costanzo, the movie doesn’t take its lens off Jude (Adam Driver) and Mina (Alba Rohrwacher, effortlessly executing fragile, split-second emotional shifts), the two former prisoners in the eatery who quickly fall in love and marry. Jude is an affable young man who doesn’t get along with his mother Anne (Roberta Maxwell). Mina is a native of Italy, with a family history which, after their son is born, brings out a worrisome scrupulous side tied to feeding her infant.
At first, her focus – a rooftop garden, a vegan lifestyle and concerns about environmental safety – seem admirably conscientious. But when Jude learns that fiercely protective Mina, who proclaims sunlight to be harmful, is administering certain foods that are preventing their son from normal weight gain, a crisis begins to brew. Their marriage – as well as the stability of well-meaning but ferociously single-minded Mina – deteriorates.
Suddenly Hungry Hearts serves up on a plate just about every theme associated with the archetypal Moon: mother, family, nutrition, nurturing, protection, caregiving, feelings and zig-zagging moods.
Moreover, the notion of female as traditional children’s meal-planner goes out the window.
Jude is committed to saving his marriage, yet sneaks in a visit to the pediatrician who advises him about his son’s precarious health. Dad starts feeding the child secretly, enlists the help of his own mother who’ll one-up Mina in the assertive-caretaker role, and takes on the Lunar mantle of aggressive protector.
Hungry Hearts makes a strong case that effective nurturing – physically, emotionally and spiritually – is not always a solely birth-mother privilege or role.
Archetype: Mother. Nurturer. Protector. Food.
Astrology Archetype: ☽ (Moon)