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Mary and Martha (2013)Mary and Martha (2013)

           This mediocre movie was made for television by HBO, but at least it has the virtue of advocating for an important cause. Mary (Hilary Swank) is an interior designer who lives in a waterfront mansion in Virginia. As a hovering helicopter parent, she aspires to be a "fantastic mom," so she takes her young son to South Africa. This is an air-brushed Africa befitting a wealthy woman — savannah sunsets, beautiful beaches, and singing children. But reality strikes when her son dies of malaria. Mary then meets Martha, a more grounded British housewife whose son met the same fate. They visit hospitals where African mothers grieve the deaths of their own children, just like they did. The two become friends, and then work to eradicate the disease. In real life malaria kills over 500,000 people a year, mainly in Africa, mainly children, and all preventable. So, three cheers for Swank and this bad movie about a good cause, which was released in conjunction with World Malaria Day.

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