Niki Caro’s The Mother takes way too long to have its good moments, and I may at least acknowledge those good moments when they come. Its first act explains what the premise is. The titular character (Jennifer Lopez) is an assassin turned arms dealer. The movie never reveals something that may resemble a name. She draws the line at work when she discvers her boss/ lover Adrian (Joseph Fiennes) also deals with human trafficking. So she goes to the FBI which leads to a botched negotiation where gunfire flies all over the place. Because of said botched negotation, she loses parental rights to a daughter she gives birth to.
Cue sad neede drops. The Mother learns to be ok with this, getting a picture per birthday. That’s until Zoe, the daughter, turns 12 (Lucy Paez), is old enough to be a pawn in Adrian’s criminal dealings. The Mother then leaves where she’s hiding – Alaska – to participate in foot chases in Cuba and shootouts in Illinois, where Zoe is. These locations underwhelm in their potential to be action setpieces, unfortonately. So anyway, the Mother decides that it’s not safe enough for Zoe to be home so she ‘kidnaps’ the latter until she kills Adrian as well as all of his honchos.
I resent some of the decisions in The Mother. Although yes, I understand why Caro and producer and screenwriter Misha Green make their decisions. They cast Omari Hardwick as one of the FBI agents, Cruise. Unfortunately, The Mother doesn’t sleep with him and Adrian kills him. Although yes, I understand how useless he may be after the second act, when the movie basically builds the bonds between her and Zoe. It is, however, funny to me that Lopez used the Fiennes brothers as her leading men. Bur surprisingly she helped make the decision for Joseph to play a villain.
In Fiennes’ defense though, he’s just as good as a villain as Lopez is being an antihero. Adrian killing Cruise is also the turning point where this movie becomes funny because yes, there is no such thing as sincerity in any genre anymore, which I’m fine with. This is, again, when the movie builds the dynamic between The Mother and Zoe. The Mother is, again, the tough one while Zoe is an annoying teen whom The Mother tecahes to be tough. There’s literally a scene where they fight about ethical food, and the needle drops get better. But that doesn’t make the movie better.
Watch The Mother on Netflix.
- Rated: R
- Genre: Action, Thriller
- Release Date: 5/12/2023
- Directed by: Niki Caro
- Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes, Omari Hardwick
- Produced by: Jennifer Lopez, Miri Yoon, Misha Green, Roy Lee
- Written by: Andrea Berloff, Misha Green, Peter Craig
- Studio: Nuyorican Productions, Vertigo Entertainment