Goodnight Mommy Parent Guide
The major plot revelations are too obvious too early for the movie to sustain any tension or interest.
Parent Movie Review
Elias (Cameron Crovetti) and his twin brother, Lucas (Nicholas Crovetti), have come to the country to spend time with their mother (Naomi Watts). Since they last saw her, she’s had some kind of cosmetic surgery, and her face is still heavily bandaged. Worse, she treats them completely differently. She’s terse, unfamiliar, even cruel at times. Although she sang them to sleep every night in the past, now she barely looks at them.
Elias and Lucas are expected to follow some strict rules, mostly about where they’re allowed to go – they are not to enter their mother’s bedroom or office, and the barn out behind the house is strictly forbidden. Of course, being children, they break the rules…. What the boys find leads them to wonder if the woman they are living with is even their mother at all.
Goodnight Mommy follows a long, pointless tradition of American studios remaking European films, usually poorly. If you rerad the reviews of these films, you’ll see the phrase “just watch the original” repeated over and over again. Having not seen the 2014 Austrian original of the same title, I’ll just deal with this film on its own merits.
A common issue with psychological thrillers like this is waiting too long to get weird. If you wait until the second act to let the audience know that something is up, there will be a lot of boring nothing going on. This movie errs in the opposite direction, giving audiences about three minutes of normalcy before demonstrating not only that something is weird, but specifically what it is. This gives the audience way too long to figure it out – and the film isn’t particularly subtle. I had about 80% of the movie figured out in the first fifteen minutes. It’s not hard. We’ve all seen a movie with a similar conceit at some point, and you don’t need to be the Sherlock Holmes of the cinema to get to the bottom of this one.
Disappointed with the movie, I went and read the Wikipedia summary for the original Austrian film. While it is far more violent, it also sounds much scarier and far more interesting. This version is remarkably sterile, and I think the filmmakers deliberately added some profanity to get it that “R” rating. By pulling those visceral punches out entirely, they’ve really hurt the narrative impetus. Where is this movie trying to go, if not those dark, scary, gross scenes of disturbing violence? I’m not saying those aspects are laudable, but they are the point of the film: it’s a horror movie after all. Goodnight Mommy is not going to be a family movie and moving in that direction has really hampered the movie’s ability to be compelling or interesting. Sometimes, you just need to commit.Directed by Matt Sobel. Starring Naomi Watts, Cameron Crovetti, Peter Hermann. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release September 16, 2022. Updated September 16, 2022
Rating & Content Info
Why is Goodnight Mommy rated R? Goodnight Mommy is rated R by the MPAA for some language.
Violence: Blood is seen on a wall. A child sustains a scratch to the arm. A child is sprayed with icy cold water. A character is killed off-screen in a fire.
Sexual Content: A woman is seen dancing and undressing seductively in front of a mirror, but there is no nudity. A woman is seen from the shoulders up in the bath.
Profanity: There are four sexual expletives, one scatological curse, and infrequent mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: An adult character is briefly seen drinking a glass of wine and smoking tobacco.
Page last updated September 16, 2022