Reel Reviews | The Mother

Jennifer Lopez returns to the action movie genre this time doing her best imitation of Liam Neeson in
the Netflix release, The Mother.

Once upon a time, a superbly trained military expert decided she wanted more from her life than
serving and protecting her country. So, she abandoned her country and started to work for an arms
broker with whom she used to work with in the military, making connections and making money. One
day one of those connections got her involved in a deal that she wanted nothing to do with and she
came to realize that she was working with some really bad people. After a seriously tragic encounter,
our expert decided that she needed to go into hiding for her safety and the safety of her daughter.

Eventually years later, bad people do bad things and when they come for her daughter, she is forced to
resort to her skills to rescue her.

The Mother is a Netflix action film written by Misha Green, Andrea Berloff, and Peter Craig. It stars
Jennifer Lopez as the titular Mother, Joseph Fiennes, Gael Barcia Bernal, Omari Hardwick and Lucy Paez.
The film is directed by Niki Caro.

The Mother is Lopez’s first foray into a full-fledged action movie since her work in Enough over twenty
years ago. Her performance (and the story) is reminiscent of the work that Liam Neeson did in the first
Taken. She has a certain special set of skills and when she is pressed into using them, there is nothing
that can stop her. Unfortunately, the story in this film is even less poorly put together than Taken. The
problem is that because this story has been seen before, something more than changing the lead to a
popular female actress needs to be done to make watching a redux worthwhile.

The casting is a bit of an issue as well. A hero can only be as powerful as the villain that she is facing.
While Lopez possesses a large amount of charisma and magnetic accessibility in her performances, her
work and character are incredibly muted here. While Gael Garcia Bernal was slightly intimidating,
Joseph Fiennes’ character, Adrian, was not at all. There is no time at all in this film where there is any
belief that any of these villains stand a chance against Lopez. After all, nothing is scarier than a mother who
is forced to protect her child.

Kudos go to Caro for putting lipstick on a pig though. Despite an aimless, jumbled, and suspense
free script, Caro does a decent job of creating tension in scenery and moments throughout the film.
However, she is woefully handcuffed by the lackluster script which inhibits the true payoff. There is a
sincerely brutal scene in the opening scene of the film but the suspense and intensity of the moment is
undermined and rendered useless by even the title of the movie.

Rated R for violence, some language, and brief drug use, The Mother is a poorly constructed film despite
the innate charm of Jennifer Lopez and the skill of a great director. Just goes to show you that no movie
can be great without a great script.

Grade: C-