Just in time for Mother’s Day, Netflix released the action packed thriller, The Mother, starring Jennifer Lopez. Lopez is perhaps better known for her work in the “romcom” category but she did star in the underrated thriller, Enough, where she played a very physical role. Additionally, while Hustlers was vastly different material to The Mother, her performance in the drama was critically acclaimed. Lopez has more range than she is credited for.
The Mother is over the top, inexplicable and often totally unrealistic. But is that a bad thing in a pulpy action flick? The Conservative Critic asks: Is it entertaining? Does it have artistic/intellectual value? Is it liberal propaganda?
The Conservative Critic Meter Check: The Mother
Overall Rating: Action flick fun
The Mother follows is a fun, typical action movie filled with predictable storyline and cheesy archetypes. However, in the same spirit as other action movies, it was loads of fun. Much like romcoms, sometimes a formula is a formula for a reason. Lopez performed very well (as well as Jason Statham or Liam Neeson in very similar roles) and her young co-star also held her own. The movie was surprisingly beautiful thematically matching with the mother/daughter story by softening the lines of harsh surroundings and realities.
There were a lot of eye roll moments, sure, but there was a lot of thought put into the composition of the film and it definitely was enough fun and enough story to engage viewers and be as credible or more than films like Ambulance (which I RIGHTLY panned) that for some reason Hollywood critics think was better than The Mother.
Where Hollywood critics are quick to pan the film because of some of its issues (the wolf was really bad), they don’t seem as quick to criticize other films of this kind with different stars. It’s unclear to me how Liam Neeson’s The Grey enjoys a 79% on Rotten Tomatoes but this film only a 44%. Or for that matter how Transporter 3 (Jason Statham) has almost the same score as this film. It feels like there was an undue harsh lens placed on this movie where it is not placed on other movies of it’s genre. Audiences agree with me.
The Mother is a fun action flick with strong visual composition and themes worthy of exploration even if they’ve been explored before. Worth a watch on Netflix.
Is it entertaining?
Rating: Lots of excitement
There is a lot of action in The Mother and plenty of violence. The film kicks off right in a life-or-death sequence and doesn’t really stop except to allow Lopez’s unnamed character (“the mother”) to establish her new life in-hiding from the bad guys who are after her. As the story unfolds, there are big chases, motorcycle getaways, explosions, stealth rescues, wild animals, sharp shooting and plenty of hand to hand combat. It’s locked and loaded for action and Lopez has worked in enough physical roles in the past to be Hollywood credible in her handling of the bad guys.
The story moves pretty quickly and only ebbs to allow for some mild character development (in fact- it probably could have used a bit more to understand the motivations of all the players a little better). It’s definitely a fun watch if you like feisty action flicks.
Does it have artistic/intellectual value?
Rating: Predictable and cheesy, but not without any merit
Yes the storyline is predictable and often at odds with logic and reality. There are many moments viewers will scoff and maybe even roll their eyes (like the heavy handed symbolism of a mother wolf). However, there was quite a bit right with the movie too, particularly visually. The film has a vast array of settings from Cuba to Ohio to Alaska and each is filmed with quite a bit of beauty and care. In fact, the cinematography was, in this critics opinion, kind of high brow for a movie that so well fit a made-for-streaming action mold. Lopez herself looked really stunning in a cool action star way with her long wild hair and big fur coat. And the filmmakers did not settle for barebones in framing the landscapes. In the best way, the film had a bit of a magazine-like quality. Sort of Annie Leibovitz meets action sequences.
On top of the visuals, Lopez and her young co-star, Lucy Paez as Zoe (the daughter) gave perfectly credible performances and even elevated what might have otherwise been insurmountably cheesy material.
While the visuals and the performances don’t quite counterbalance the storyline and dialogue, they do ensure the merit of the film is not totally meritless.
Is it liberal propaganda?
Rating: Tiny right lean
The film is neutral politically in terms of an outright agenda. There are no obvious narratives associated with the themes.
However, because the film heavily values adoption, life and motherhood as well as responsible and skilled gun ownership and use (for protection and hunting), the film does have a slight lean to the right in terms of the bias of undertones.
The Mother is a fun action movie that while a bit cheesy is beautifully filmed, well performed and thematically suitable for conservative minded viewers. It is definitely worth checking out on Netflix.