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Movie review: 'A Journey in My Mother's Footsteps'

November 11, 2011|By Gary Goldstein | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
  • A moment from "In My Mother's Footsteps"
A moment from "In My Mother's Footsteps" (Freya Films )

Danish-born actress and filmmaker Dina Rosenmeier attempts to square her mother Jessie's seemingly obsessive need to aid the world's underprivileged children — while regularly leaving her own six kids back home — in the stirring, if inconclusive documentary "A Journey in My Mother's Footsteps."

Jessie Rosenmeier, 75 when this film was made, is dubbed here "The Mother Teresa of Modern Times" for her four-decade devotion to the welfare and international adoption of children in such countries as Kenya, Haiti, Korea and, especially, India. Dina travels across the last, revisiting the orphanages and foundations in Kolkata, Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai where Jessie made her mark. En route, the writer-director explores her prospects for motherhood and even a potential adoption, which furthers her understanding of Jessie's humanitarian impulses.

Jessie, who joins Dina on-camera in Mumbai, explains how her passion for helping the destitute began after her third child died at birth, which connects at least a few dots. But the deeper implications — Jessie's desire for escape, her volunteerism's true emotional and financial toll on her family — are largely skirted here, even throughout Dina's various chats with her supportive father.

That none of Dina's siblings is interviewed here about their extraordinary mother may speak volumes.


"A Journey in My Mother's Footsteps." No MPAA rating. In English and Danish with English subtitles. At Running time: 1 hour, 17 minutes. At Laemmle's Sunset 5, West Hollywood.

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