“The Good Mother“ is a film that takes a bold step away from Hollywood conventions, but it’s not without its share of shortcomings. Directed by Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, this movie ventures into the gritty and emotionally charged terrain of life, addiction, and fractured family bonds.
The Good Mother Review: The Plot
Set in Albany, New York, circa 2016, “The Good Mother” introduces us to Marissa Bennings (Hilary Swank), a journalist whose life is far from glamorous. Her character is portrayed as a person trapped in a never-ending cycle of despair, beginning each day with a hangover and an almost-empty bottle. This bleak atmosphere sets the tone for the narrative.
The story takes a dramatic turn when Marissa’s son Toby (Jack Reynor) disrupts her work meeting to deliver the shocking news of her other son, Michael’s death. The backdrop to this tragedy is Michael’s descent into heroin addiction, which had driven a wedge between him and his family. However, Michael’s demise isn’t due to drugs but rather a bullet fired by an unknown assailant in a late-night drive-by shooting.
Toby suspects that Michael’s best friend Ducky (Hopper Penn) is responsible, believing that a falling-out between the two led to this fatal outcome. Marissa, on the other hand, senses a deeper, more intricate web of secrets surrounding her son’s death. Motivated by a relentless desire for answers, she embarks on a quest for the truth.
Paige (Olivia Cooke), Michael’s pregnant girlfriend, adds another layer of complexity to the story. Marissa reluctantly accepts Paige into her life, despite their initial animosity. Their shared grief for Michael becomes a binding force that drives the narrative forward.
The Good Mother Review: An Exploration of Relationships
Beyond the central investigation into Michael’s death, “The Good Mother” excels in portraying the nuanced dynamics between its characters. The evolving relationship between Marissa and Paige is a captivating study in contradiction—marked by tension and mutual dislike yet strengthened by their shared pain.
The Good Mother Review: Plot Twists and Directorial Choices
As the film progresses, it takes viewers on a rollercoaster ride with unexpected twists that challenge conventional storytelling. However, while the narrative is ambitious, director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s execution leaves something to be desired.
Joris-Peyrafitte’s direction showcases moments of brilliance in crafting a realistic setting with striking visuals and compelling performances by the cast. Yet, these moments are often overshadowed by showy camerawork, which, while visually striking, occasionally detracts from character development. Some scenes feel disjointed, leaving the audience wanting more substance.
The Enigmatic Title
The film’s title, “The Good Mother,” adds an intriguing layer to the story. Multiple female characters could potentially claim this enigmatic title, mirroring the ambiguity of real-life situations where clarity is often elusive.
The Good Mother Review: A Mixed Verdict
“The Good Mother“ is a film that may polarize audiences. It takes risks and explores complex themes, but these efforts occasionally lead to a muddled narrative. While it offers a unique perspective on loss, human connections, and redemption, it falls short of delivering a fully satisfying cinematic experience.
Currently showing in cinemas