Madres parents guide

Madres Parent Guide

Less violent than its rating implies, this is okay for teens but will be more thematically interesting to adults.

Overall B

Amazon Prime: Anita and Beto, a young Mexican-American couple, are pregnant and moving to California. But when Anita starts to have disturbing visions, she learns about a dangerous curse which could threaten her and her baby...

Release date October 8, 2021

Violence C
Sexual Content A
Profanity C-
Substance Use B

Why is Madres rated R? The MPAA rated Madres R

Run Time: 83 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Diana (Ariana Guerra) and her husband Beto (Tenoch Huerta) have just moved from Los Angeles to a small town where Beto landed a job in farm management. The move is stressful for Diana, who is pregnant and would prefer to give birth in a major hospital in L.A. But there is a local pregnancy clinic and she decides that it’s good enough. But, within days of moving in, Diana is struggling with anxiety and has developed a strange rash and chronic headaches. Now Diana is worried about her health, her baby’s wellbeing, and local rumors about a curse that afflicts pregnant women…

I can’t really talk about the significant parts of this film without major plot spoilers, so if you’re planning to watch this movie, consider yourself warned: I’m going to give away most of the ending. This is your last chance to turn back.

The true horror in Madres is that it’s based in part on a true story. In the 1970s, Latina women in the Los Angeles area were sterilized against their will. This abuse culminated in a federal class-action suit (Madrigal vs. Quilligan), in which ten of the women alleged that Dr. James Quilligan had sterilized them either without consent or through coercion. The women lost their case and, to make matters worse, Judge Jesse Curtis ruled that the doctor was not criminally responsible and claimed that he had acted in the interest of the patients.

One of the great role films play in our society is bringing stories like this to light. Unfortunately, using a horror story format hurts more than it helps. Marketing this as a horror movie and introducing supernatural elements detracts from the legitimacy of the issue. It also makes for some weird tonal problems – you go from boredom at a played-out curse story to moral outrage at an appalling abuse of both medical authority and judicial power. It’s not a fun ride.

Remarkably, the film itself is fairly tame by horror movie standards. Amazon rated it 18+, but I’m at a loss to understand why, apart from the upsetting nature of the subject matter. With very little profanity, brief violence, no sexual content, and negligible drinking this ought to be a PG-13 horror film. That’s not to say it’s an easy watch by any stretch of the imagination, both because of the poor structure and difficult real-world issues, but at least it isn’t going out of its way to shock you. The story does that just fine all on its own.

Directed by Ryan Zaragoza. Starring Elpidia Carrillo, Tenoch Huerta, and Ariana Guerra. Running time: 83 minutes. Theatrical release October 8, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for Madres

Rating & Content Info

Why is Madres rated R? Madres is rated R by the MPAA

Violence: Severed eyes are briefly seen.  A person is cut across the arm. Two people are stabbed, one is shot, and another is impaled. Several dead babies are seen. A woman is shown getting a c-section.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are one extreme profanity, three scatological curses, and very infrequent use of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are briefly seen drinking beer.

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Madres Parents' Guide

While people tend to associate eugenics programs with Naziism, many governments have operated such programs, some shockingly recently. What are some other examples of government enforced eugenics? Have any of them happened where you live? What are the consequences of these programs? How can governments regain the trust of those individuals they targeted? What should they be required to do to compensate any survivors?

For background on Madrigal vs Quilligan, you can follow these links:

The New York Times: When Doctors Took “Family Planning” Into Their Own Hands

For more about eugenics, you can read here: Eugenics

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Eugenics

Wikipedia: Eugenics in the United States

PBS: Unwanted Sterilization and Eugenics Programs in the United States

The Canadian Encyclopedia: Eugenics in Canada