How do you explore the complexities of motherhood from every possible angle in a two-hour film? As "Mother and Child" discovers, not all that well.

How do you explore the complexities of motherhood from every possible angle in a two-hour film? As "Mother and Child" discovers, not all that well.

It's an ambitious and well-acted film, but it ultimately falls prey to an overloaded plot that enters soap-opera territory.

"Mother" revolves around three women. Karen (Annette Bening) cares for her elderly mother but is torn by memories of the daughter she gave up for adoption as a teen. Elizabeth (Naomi Watts) is that daughter, now a cold and career-focused lawyer. Meanwhile, Lucy (Kerry Washington) is a married woman desperate to adopt a child.

Director Rodrigo Garcia wrings a lot of drama from this story. In fact, it has a bit too much drama, as not all of his interweaving storylines are as interesting as others - particularly some sidebar love stories.

There are some great acting performances here, but by the time everything comes together, it feels overloaded and a bit saccharine.