The Mother was just mediocre enough to leave me majorly conflicted


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One of the movie posters for Netflix’s The Mother, starring Jennifer Lopez as the titular character.

Jennifer Lopez’s repertoire of iconic films is undoubtedly extensive, to say the least. I’ve always loved her works, from The Wedding Planner to Selena to my personal favorite, Jack, and most of the ones in between. 

Her most recent film, The Mother, aired on Netflix on May 12, 2023, and I was obviously super excited for the new action/thriller to come out. It seemed like it would hold a similar atmosphere to Halle Berry’s Kidnap, which got me so excited considering the fact that I love that movie so much. 

It was a good film in and of itself, but it was somewhat predictable and had a slightly overdone storyline conceptually speaking.

The Mother follows an unnamed U.S. assassin in hiding, known as The Mother (Jennifer Lopez), who comes out of hiding to protect the daughter she had previously been forced to abandon, an unknowing adolescent girl named Zoe (Lucy Paez).

A man named Cruise (Omari Hardwick) serves as a middleman of sorts during the years of Zoe’s youth, informing The Mother of Zoe’s growth over the years and providing her the validation that her daughter is happy with her adoptive family. 

Early on, we meet who we believe to be the sole antagonist of the story: a man named Adrian, played by Joseph Fiennes. Aside from him, there are also many other men after both The Mother and Zoe. 

Needing help extracting her daughter from the situation at hand, The Mother contacts Jons (Paul Raci)—a man who we learn had previously worked with her in the military—and brings him into the operation.

It is essentially a game of cat-and-mouse for much of the duration of the movie; with the fear of these assailants hanging over her head, The Mother takes action as best she can.

Plot-wise, it’s a fascinating film and it had a lot of potential; however, upon watching it, I was somewhat bored. It was a good film in and of itself, but it was somewhat predictable and had a slightly overdone storyline conceptually speaking. Yes, the twists and turns were great, but I’d half expected them to come. The supposedly-convoluted curveballs that had been thrown at us were generally just confusing enough to make sense and yet still leave me a bit stumped, and truthfully I was slightly confused at times just because of the poor explanation of certain key points in the story. 

This is just a personal qualm, and it shouldn’t hinder my opinion of the movie, but I can’t get over the fact that every time a punch is thrown in this movie, it has the stereotypical “punch” sound. Something about the sound makes me think of fight scenes in comedic and even parody movies. As I said, that’s probably just me being dramatic, but I still can’t stop thinking about it. 

The acting in the film was genuinely very well-done. The performance that left me most impressed, though, is that of 14-year-old Paez. Before this, she had been in three films, one in which she was a background character and wasn’t credited. The other actors’ performances were also truly very good, but I think that the actual development of the movie could have been done a bit better.

Overall, it truly wasn’t a bad movie, but The Mother simply didn’t impress me as much as I’d hoped it would.