The Mother is a new film on Netflix directed by Niki Caro and starring Jennifer Lopez as a deadly female assassin on the run from two arms dealers, Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes) and Hector Àlvarez (Gael García Bernal). Here is a breakdown of the plot and an analysis of the movie.
In the opening sequence of the movie, we learn that one of the arms dealers is the father of The Mother’s unborn child. The Mother teams up with the FBI to make things right, but she fails to assassinate Adrian for them. Seeking help from the bureau while holed up in a safe house somewhere in Indiana, the debriefing goes awry, and a bloodbath ensues. After the two make it out, The Mother entrusts William with her newborn baby, asking him to find the child a safe, boring home.
It’s 12 years later that William reveals photographs of Zoe, also known as The Daughter (Lucy Paez), have been found in the men’s belongings following internal investigations suggesting that both Adrian and Hector know her child is alive. The Mother attempts to stop her daughter’s abduction but fails, teaming up with William to get her back. Frustrated by the two using her daughter as leverage to draw her out, her maternal instincts are amplified as a protective, dangerous force to anyone in her way that threatens her child.
The Mother flips the script on the typical revenge thriller that normally focuses on male leads by placing a complex woman into that kind of world. Lopez’s character is known only as The Mother throughout the movie. Lopez has done a great job of personifying The Mother and giving her enough nuance for audiences to be intrigued by her every move. She is absolutely magnetic to watch.
The Mother does a great job of balancing the inner demons of her character while repairing the broken relationship she has with Zoe. With a script written by a team of incredibly talented screenwriters in Misha Green (Lovecraft Country), Andrea Berloff (The Kitchen), and Peter Craig (The Town), the movie feels like there was too much happening and a lot got missed out on. It’s a good story with a lot of potential, but there are also some undercooked elements that cannot be ignored.
The villains were just not strong enough, and more a testament to the writing as the actors could only do what they are given. Fiennes was decent as a villain but in many ways, fell into that James Bond cliché, especially after a fire physically scars one side of his face. We don’t get to see more of why we need to hate him, nor any kind of backstory without The Mother in check to understand his motives, his feelings, and why he is the big baddie. Yes, we learn about all the gross, heinous things he does starting with stabbing The Mother when pregnant even knowing the child could be his. But that is through the eyes of The Mother only. In fact, Adrian and Hector are villains only when in scenes with The Mother, but they don’t exist for our understanding outside her purview.
- Jumanji Franchise: Will there be a Sequel?
- Comparing the Final Villains of Bleach and Naruto
- STILL: A Michael J. Fox Story – Everything You Need to Know
The Mother is a good attempt at a female-led revenge thriller. It has a strong lead in Jennifer Lopez, but the movie’s undercooked elements and weak villains detract from its overall effectiveness. However, it does show the potential of having complex women in lead roles in a male-dominated genre, and it’s exciting to see Lopez take on this kind of role.