Friday, May 19, 2023

The Mother (2023)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: The Mother (2023)
Genre: Action, Thriller
Length:  1h 55min
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Nuyorican Productions, Vertigo Entertainment, Netflix
Director: Niki Caro
Writers: Andrea Berloff, Peter Craig, Misha Green
Actors: Fahim Fazli, Gael García Bernal, Jennifer Lopez, Jesse Garcia, Joseph Fiennes, Leslie Lluvet, Lucy Paez, Michael Karl Richards, Omari Hardwick, Paul Raci, Saif Mohsen, Yvonne Senat Jones
IMDb Blurb: While fleeing from dangerous assailants, an assassin comes out of hiding to protect her daughter she left earlier in life.
Cat’s Point of View:
Before I get into my review of The Mother, I feel I should open with the disclaimer that this was not the movie I was originally set to cover for you today. I intended to review the new Disney+ original Peter Pan & Wendy (2023). Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I couldn’t make that happen. In a nutshell, the Disney+ app has a significant problem. It has the potential of losing audio sync with its programming. Thus far, Peter Pan & Wendy is the only title I’ve had problems viewing, and the only time I have had that issue with any of the streaming services I subscribe to. Unfortunately, it was repeatable - from multiple devices in my household. 

Approximately 20 minutes into the film, the audio lagged behind the visuals significantly and it became very difficult (nearly impossible) for me to watch. Every time. Exactly that scene. Had I not researched this, I would have marked this down as a 0/5 and chalked it up to Disney dropping the ball. I did, however, find some articles that pointed out that this is apparently a known issue with the Disney+ app and it requires a lot of rigamarole to sort out. With the wifi inconsistencies at my residence, it would have wasted the whole day. Perhaps we can revisit this title in the future. 

Now to the movie at hand: The Mother

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Netflix rolled out new original content for us featuring Jennifer Lopez (Shades of Blue, Second Act, Marry Me), Joseph Fiennes (Strangerland, Risen, The Handmaid's Tale), Gael García Bernal (The Accused, Old, Werewolf by Night), and Omari Hardwick (Nobody's Fool, Power, Army of the Dead)

The Mother landed at my #11 spot on this month’s Top 20 Movies to Look Out For list, and so far I don’t regret that placement. 

I expected solid action, a rollercoaster of feels, and good performances. None of the heavy hitters on this cast are known for phoning it in. I am happy to say I wasn’t disappointed. 

The cinematography was spot on. I felt the remoteness of the safehouse and I felt my breath catch in my throat at a few points during the action - both of the shooting variety and the chase scenes. 

I connected to the story of the mother forced to give up her daughter for the child’s protection and I felt her heartbreak as well as resonating with her desire to protect the little girl, even from afar. I don’t think you’d have to be a mother to appreciate that part of the story, though. It’s communicated well enough that it’s just a given. 

There were a few bits in the middle that pushed on my boundaries of the suspension of disbelief when it came to some of the agent stuff. Explaining further, unfortunately, would require spoilers. 

We had an initial concern when we watched the trailer that this would play out fairly close to another Netflix original, Lou (2022). While some of the themes are tangentially similar, I feel that The Mother stands alone against that prior production with entirely different scenarios present. That being said, if you enjoyed watching Lou, you’d likely get a lot out of this movie as well. 

I do feel I need to note that while a lot of Lopez’s projects seem to have a hint of levity to them, The Mother is fairly straightforward in the Action / Thriller department and leans more to the dramatic. 

If any of this sounds like a fun film for you, I’d definitely recommend giving The Mother a chance. There won’t be awards for originality or groundbreaking work here, but it is a solid genre offering that my 19yr old and I had a good time viewing together.
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 44%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score –71%
Metascore – 44%
Metacritic User Score – 7.1/10
IMDB Score – 5.5/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating –  3/5
Movie Trailer:

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