After several viewings, I think I’ve figured everything out except who the woman is in Robert Parks’ (Clive Owen’s) photograph. Help!
Isn’t Mrs. Wilson (Helen Mirren) his mother?
So…isn’t she the woman in the photograph? But then…why don’t all the people who look at the photo recognize her? Is it some other woman? Her sister? Some random unimportant woman, and maybe the picture’s a decoy left in Parks’ file at the orphanage?
No it’s supposed to be her, it’s just that it was long ago and her hard life has changed her enough so people don’t put 2 & 2 together. It’s how she and her sister know who he is but he doesn’t realize it is her.
Hmmmm, well, didn’t he realize it was her? There’s a part where he looks at her pointedly and says, “I don’t think you forget much, do you?” or something to that effect.
At any rate, thanks for clearing this up!
I don’t think he figured it out. Mary Maceachran is the only person not directly involved that figured it out, I believe. And nobody else really cares.
I don’t think many people in the household have seen the picture. He’s only there as a visitor, and his mother only sees it because she happens to come to his room.
I rented the DVD tonight.
Mary and Henry Denton both see the picture, but neither of them seem to recognize Mrs. Wilson.
According to Robert Altman’s commentary, Robert himself never figures out that Mrs. Wilson is his mother. That “You don’t forget much, do you?” line apparently does not mean what I thought it meant. Funny, someone (Bob Balaban?) was talking to Altman all throughout the voiceover and brought up this very line, and Altman ignored him. Hmmmm…
The commentary by the screenwriter, Julian Fellowes, is absolutely fascinating. He knew every bit of history and etiquette and custom that went into the production. I like the movie so much more now that I’ve heard his explanations.