Look at Us Now, Mother! documents Gayle Kirschenbaum’s decades-long struggle to understand and forgive her mother, Mildred. The two take a journey of discovery together, exploring the roots of their issues with one another, remembering the family tragedies which have shaped their lives, and struggling to accept that they are radically different from one another.
This is a documentary with several changes in tone throughout, and to an extent this leaves the viewer confused about how to feel about Mildred Kirschenbaum. This is not necessarily a bad thing; anyone who has a less-than-perfect relationship with his or her own mother will be able to appreciate the roller coaster of emotions that such a relationship can often entail.
Gayle’s fear of intimacy and fear of being hurt stems from her upbringing. She mentions several instances wherein she was criticized by her mother about the way she looks, as well as instances of humiliation which led to a build-up of resentment in later years. However, in spite of this pain, she continues to search for forgiveness.