The Mother is a dull, stagnant, and futile exercise in streaming content.
We review the 2023 Netflix film The Mother, which does not contain significant spoilers.
After watching a couple thousand action films, I started The Mother, and it finally happened. Jennifer Lopez‘s character chases a villain that would make Hank Quinlan blush. The man puts out a solid forearm and knocks over a sweet-looking nun dressed in crisp all-white friar and Cornette.
It’s that type of thriller that combines the sensibilities of female-led revenge thrillers like Peppermint and Lou that equals nothing more than another retread that studio executives call original. Most shockingly, it comes from Niki Caro, the director of The Whale Rider.
The Mother (2023) Review and Plot Summary
Lopez plays “Mother,” a former military operative and veteran of back-to-back tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with forty confirmed kills and an accurate sniper rifle from at least 1,300 meters away.
Just after her last military operation, Mother went to work for Hector Álvarez (Gael García Bernal) and Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes), illegal arms dealers who utilize her talents.
However, Mother wants out, and she is nine months pregnant. She tries to strike a deal with Special Agent Cruise (Omari Hardwick) and Williams (Edie Falco) to enter witness protection.
However, after her former employers find her location, she is almost killed. Mother then must give up her child for adoption and enter protective custody. She hides in Alaska with the help of her former commander, Jons (Paul Raci).
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That’s the carrot, now here’s the stick — twelve years later, her old employers locate her missing daughter, Zoe (Lucy Paez), and use her as a pawn by kidnapping her in order to draw Mother out. With the help of Cruise, they travel overseas to rescue the daughter she never knew.
It’s almost shocking how inept and eye-rolling the material is here, considering the talent involved in this mess. Besides Niki Caro going for a straightforward payday, the script is written by some of the most talented blockbuster writers working today.
The original story was from Lovecraft Country’s Misha Green, who developed the script, along with Andrea Berloff, who wrote Straight Outta Compton. Then, inexplicably, The Batman, Top Gun: Maverick, and The Town scribe Peter Craig took a swing and missed wildly.
What went wrong? Well, the material is recycled. The writers fumble over any sort of theme that comes with vulnerable populations and animal rights. The plot is as obvious as they come, which comes across as bland and even pointless.
The story is a practically rudderless existence since the final two acts repeat themselves in vastly different settings.
At the very least, Lopez holds her own as an action star and gets back to her days in Enough, but the movie has very few thrills. The material is bad here. The villains are so over the top and give off the fun vibe that they’re so bad. And the booby prize goes to Fiennes. I’m not sure what he did to be stuck in a film like The Mother.
The star of films like Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth is cartoonishly menacing with little room to make the role interesting.
Is the 2023 film The Mother good or bad?
The Mother is a bad action-thriller with a good Jennifer Lopez wasted in the role. The story is a dull, stagnant, and futile exercise in streaming content.
There are much better films to stream on Netflix with strong and intelligent action heroes, like Kate and Gunpowder Milkshake.
Is the 2023 film The Mother worth watching?
The Mother is worth watching with your mom on Mother’s Day if you are looking to enact some sweet revenge after a childhood filled with abuse and neglect.
If you are a fan of mind-numbing, female-driven revenge thrillers like Peppermint and Lou, the Niki Caro film fits that description all too perfectly.
What did you think of the 2023 Netflix film The Mother? Comment below.