It wouldn’t be summer without a plethora of action flicks hitting streaming and theaters across the country, and Netflix is poised to kick off its summer releases this year Mother Jennifer Lopez continues her streak of action films and leads the film as the lead mother, with a small supporting cast of Joseph Fiennes, Omari Hardwick, Gael García Bernal, and Paul Lacy, to name a few of the main cast.
New Zealand director Niki Caro directed the film; she previously directed the live-action adaptation Hua Mulan Disney will release in 2020. From the screenplay by Peter Craig, Andrea Belloff, and Misha Green, Mother Longing for another entry in the female revenge story, but it’s a weak addition. The film was officially announced for distribution by Netflix in 2021, with Lopez and Carlo joining the project. Filming began a few months later, with a slated release date of May 2023, though there were a few bumps along the way—COVID-19 brought production and filming to a halt in 2022 due to the outbreak of the new variant.
Taking place in remote areas of the United States, Alaska, and a small set in Cuba, Mother Ambitious, but sadly fails to live up to the hype of its cast and lives safely within the genre’s traditional tropes, especially when it comes to female revenge and the stories that can be told with it.
An Assassin Tracks Her Missing Daughter
Jennifer Lopez plays a character known simply as “The Mother” in the film. In the opening scene, she sits in a suburban house and becomes an FBI informant about Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes) and Hector Alvarez (Gael Garcia Gnar), with whom she brokered arms deals in the past. When one of the agents dispelled her fears about how they were tracking them rather than the FBI tracking the suspects, the agents were shot down one by one, while being cornered in the shower by Adrian and revealing that the pregnant mother had been stabbed in the stomach. When the house caught fire, she survived by turning on the shower and lying in the water.
However, when she gave birth smoothly in the hospital, her daughter was taken away by the FBI. Their reasoning was that since the mother was the target of Adrian and Hector, she would have a better life away from her mother. The mother leaves a request to Agent William Cruise (Omari Hardwick), who survived the ambush: She wants a boring, stable life for her daughter, and she wants a greeting card every birthday. After seeing her daughter for the last time, she moved to Alaska and time flew by. But when a letter arrived that wasn’t a birthday card, the mother realized something was amiss.
She flies back to the mainland, and when she meets William, he tells her that Hector’s men have a picture of her daughter Zoe after her capture. A mother heads to her daughter’s school to see her in real life for the first time since she was a baby, but this distant reunion isn’t meant to last – as the mother watches her from a distance with a gun and binoculars, and she watched helplessly as a man grabbed her daughter and put her in the back of the van.
This will start a new adventure that will take William and her mother to Cuba, where she must face the real demons of her past. When she meets her daughter, a new set of problems arises because they are not prepared in the first place to face the reality and trauma of being separated from their parents and their daughter. Meanwhile, the mother is still dealing with the fallout from her past, as she too is hunted down by the man she once trusted.
Retelling the Female Revenge Narrative
if there is a solid aspect Mother, It feels like a very realistic female character story. Women in assassin movies are often given classic tropes and overly sexualized to suit a certain type of audience, but Carlo’s direction feels human, like Lopez’s “mother” is a woman who would literally do anything for her daughter. Her methods can be rude and even a little cruel at times, but she is realistic. She’s on a mission and no matter how hard they try to stop her, no one is going to get in her way. Many mothers have these instincts when it comes to protecting their children.
However, the storyline Mother Viewers have probably seen many times. At times the film is reminiscent of its predecessors, such as Jung Byung Il’s villainThis, in turn, was inspired by Mrs. NikitaMany films have touched on the topic of vengeful women, and in many of these stories, the source of their anger and revenge stems from having a daughter. Mother The formula is followed, but there aren’t enough action moments to allow the plot to grow beyond the skeleton it already has.
Refusing to give the mother a name boils her down to a core aspect of her motivations, making her nothing more than a mother trying to get her daughter back. The way she cared was not like the typical motherly way portrayed in movies and TV, but she still loved her daughter and would do anything for her. Despite how many flashbacks the film tries to conveniently give to explain her backstory, at the end of the day, she’s still largely just a mother who resorts to her ingrained tactics and violence to get her daughter back.
As much as these flashbacks attempt to build emotional tension and make us care more about our mother in return, they ultimately fail by the end of the film. The villain’s reasoning for its narrative arc is flimsy at times, and they don’t have a moment’s sparkle. Some connections are explained through these flashbacks, but others are left in the air, making the characters only exist when it’s convenient for the storyline. Convenience seems to be a recurring theme throughout the film’s two-hour running time, especially as the bad guys loom over them for a final sweep and celebratory champagne.
Jennifer Lopez and the Show Saves Mothers
Jennifer Lopez is the glue that holds this film together, and she succeeds in her mission. She radiates charisma on screen and into character, whether she’s out on the snowy fields of Alaska or trying to dispel a ghost of her past in Cuba. Her chemistry with her daughter is supposed to be uneven because when they first met, they were visibly nervous since they hadn’t been in each other’s lives until then. Lopez wears a stoic look for most of the film, and while it’s easy to irritate the other characters, there’s a reason why she’s the way she is.
The overall acting skills are one of the biggest features of this movie because although many of the characters are hollow and old-fashioned, the actors portray the characters just right. But with a script that needs work, the acting can only do so much, and in the end, the action isn’t enough to inspire genre fans. There’s nothing special about how things end, and some of the movie’s biggest fights are pretty anticlimactic in the way they unfold. Even moments that should be surprising, revealing plot points that are crucial to future developments, seem to happen like a deep, drawn-out sigh.
While the world needs to see more realistic portrayals of female characters in action movies, Mother Cannot provide a captivating experience. It was foreseeable from the start that while there were some good shots throughout the film department, some questionable decisions could have been made when editing the film’s final cut. Maybe in another universe, if different decisions were made Mother, it will be a movie that breaks free from the constraints and molds of the genre. However, in this universe, Mother Manages to be an action movie with characters, plots, and visuals that viewers are probably already very familiar with.
Mother Releases May 11, 2023 on Netflix.