The Mother Parent Guide
To describe this film as a hot mess would be an unmerited compliment.
Parent Movie Review
I’m going to begin with a heads-up: I know you’re expecting some kind of plot synopsis here, but trust me, you don’t care. I don’t care. No one cares, and that includes the screenwriters. The Mother is a terrible revenge thriller which casts Jennifer Lopez as a dangerous killer on the hunt for the man who took her daughter. She has the usual revenge thriller skill set – long-range marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat, knife fighting, bomb-making, field survival, emergency medicine - you name it, she’s got it. And now she’s on the hunt for the man who taught her those skills, and who has her daughter. She had been willing to help him traffic illegal arms, but when she had the temerity to refuse to help him traffic children, he took her child. So our hero is out to save the day…
This movie might once have been a hot mess, but it’s since cooled and congealed into an unappetizing and stodgy pile of overcooked clichés and bad acting. The story is so bland that they haven’t bothered to name the protagonist, but it’s just as well. I couldn’t remember any of the characters’ names at any point in the story, so you can save your memory the trouble and simply number them in order of appearance.
You might take this opportunity to remind me that writing isn’t the heart of an action movie – action is. I regret to inform you that this film is roughly as exciting and dynamic as your average proctologist’s office. At one point our hero steals a motorbike but takes the time to put the helmet on first. Nothing says fast-paced adventure like good road safety. Actually, I suspect that was done to disguise a stunt driver since I doubt Lopez is up to serious motorcycle stunts and the studio didn’t want to spend the time and money to do a digital face replacement on a stunt double. J-Lo isn’t exactly convincing in any of the other action shots, and the choreography, firearms handling, and car chases all have this bland sense of inevitability hanging over them like a bad smell.
The filmmakers have tried to make the movie more “serious” by amping up the violence, but none of it ever manages to feel even halfway real. Parents undeterred by the R-rating can expect plenty of shooting, stabbing, explosions, some torture, a graphic threat of sexual violence, and some cocaine use – none of which is endearing, and all of which is carried out with all the precision, determination, and care of a fourth-grade science project done four hours before the due date.
There are so many action movies out there that I cannot imagine a world in which I’d settle for one this lazy. I had to force myself to pay attention repeatedly throughout the film. I’d manage to focus for about five minutes, and then I’d find myself playing solitaire on my phone and having to rewind the movie. And let me tell you, having to rewind a bad movie is almost as fun as booking dental appointments. But I have to do this – you don’t. Save yourself a headache and some terminal boredom and watch something more interesting. Or at least, something less terrible. There’s no shortage of options.
Directed by Niki Caro. Starring Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes, Paul Raci. Running time: 115 minutes. Theatrical release May 12, 2023. Updated May 12, 2023
Watch the trailer for The Mother
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Mother rated R? The Mother is rated R by the MPAA for violence, some language and brief drug use.
Violence: People are repeatedly shot, stabbed, and blown up. A man is seriously burned in an explosion. A man deliberately stabs a pregnant woman in the belly: the baby is uninjured. Several characters are struck by vehicles. A person is tortured by being beaten with a fist wrapped in barbed wire and then waterboarded. A character is bitten by a wolf, but is not seriously harmed. Several animals are killed in a hunting context.
Sexual Content: There are several instances of sexually suggestive and explicit dialogue. A man threatens a woman with violent sexual assault.
Profanity: There are five sexual expletives, several scatological curses, and frequent uses of mild cursing and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters drink alcohol and smoke tobacco. A man snorts cocaine.
Page last updated May 12, 2023