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Must See Movie: DUTY FREE, the story of a hotel housekeeper and her son, perfect for Mother's Day

"Duty Free" is a film by director Sian-Pierre Regis in photo with his 75-year-old mother.  Courtesy of 42 West
"Duty Free" is a film by director Sian-Pierre Regis about his 75-year-old mother, Rebecca, who supported her family working as a hotel housekeeper. Image: 42 West

"A tender love poem from son to mother," CBS News

DUTY FREE seemed a natural for hertelier to showcase for Mother’s Day…the true story of a 75- year-old immigrant mother who gets fired, without cause, from her lifelong job as a hotel housekeeper, and the son who helps her reclaim her life by creating a bucket list of activities she’d been too busy for because of work.

The film, which is now showing in select theaters in NYC, Miami and LA, and can be streamed by clicking here, definitely earns filmmaker Sian-Pierre Regis the unofficial award for "Son of the Year."

With no intention of ever retiring, Rebecca Danigelis’ reality comes crashing down after being fired leaves her financially and emotionally devastated. “Not only did I lose a job, I lost a family.” You can’t help but feel her heartbreak when she speaks.

As she struggles to find work and rebuild her life, filmmaker son, Sian-Pierre resolves to support her by giving her an adventure spanning two continents that uncovers a surprising family saga…a story that reveals the compromises and injustices placed on single mothers, the persistence of sexism and ageism, and the difficult dance of duty and freedom where the older and younger generations come together.

“That’s what makes you strong…you have things happen to you in your life,” says Rebecca, “you rise up, get over them, then pick yourself up and start all over again.” And she means it. After a lifetime of sacrifice for her children it becomes clear that she is no martyr…she is a Mother, who did what she had to do to make it right for both her personal and professional families. DUTY FREE is her son’s way of making things right for her.

“After watching the film, is there anything you would have done differently?” we ask Rebecca. Her reply echoes what so many working mothers are discovering today…the importance of work-life balance. “My message on Mother’s Day is make time for your children. Talk with them. Do things with them. There is nothing more important than family.”


DUTY FREE is now playing at the IFC Theater in New York and is also available for streaming and in select theaters nationwide. For more information visit


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