Documentaries: Love Always, Mom (2017) - Reviewed

Love Always, Mom, a film by Tricia Russo, Trish Gonnella and Craig E. Shapiro, is a deeply moving and heartfelt documentary that takes the viewer on one woman’s journey to have a surrogate child, despite having battled stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. It’s no wonder that this film won the audience award at the Bentonville Film Festival as it is such a positive and moving story that surely resonated with many of the viewers who attended the festival.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to be a mother.” This is the driving force of Tricia Russo, who expected to live out her dreams of getting married and having children. That plan would be crushed after marrying Greg, when she was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012. After being clear for a year, a metastasis tumor is discovered in her brain; which is also referred to as stage 4. She cannot no longer attempt to conceive a child on her own, since she can’t go off of her medication for that long of a time period. In 2015, the couple decide to find an egg donor and go through the surrogacy process in order to fulfill Tricia’s dream of having a child.

This is her story and it’s an intimate and emotional one. Tricia holds nothing back as she takes the viewer on the long and complicated trip of finding a surrogate and then ultimately having a child. It’s her openness that makes this a compelling story, taking us inside doctor visits, meetings with potential egg donors and surrogates, and Tricia conducting personal video diary conversations.

Tricia has a strong and powerful presence and she drives this documentary, making it all the more captivating. You never once question her desires to have a child, as she wants to create a legacy that lasts well beyond her years on this earth. And it isn’t just about the baby for her, it’s about developing relationships with the egg donor and surrogate mother. This is clearly a labor of love from Tricia Russo, who now leaves her legacy as both a mother and filmmaker.

If there were any quibbles about this documentary, they are minor and may not even be noticed by some viewers. They kind of gloss over the financial aspect of the surrogacy. It’s an expensive process and they only really mention the cost, never really going into whether this is a fiscal burden to them. It appears that it isn’t, but we don’t know for sure because they don’t give much information about their respective careers.

Love Always, Mother is sure to resonate on various levels with parents and would-be mothers, while also providing an in-depth look into the surrogacy process. While their situation might not be the typical surrogacy, it nonetheless shows what a beautiful and enriching process that surrogacy can be for everyone involved. 

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