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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

The Mother (2023) - Secrets and Sacrifices: The Struggle to Connect

Updated: Feb 15

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5 stars)

Released 05-12-2023

Watched 01-18-2024

Reviewed 01-26-2024

Watched on Netflix

"A woman like that, you gotta pay attention to what she does, not what she says."

"The Mother," a film released in 2023, weaves a complex narrative of espionage, loyalty, and maternal instincts set against a backdrop of international crime. With a cast led by Jennifer Lopez as the unnamed operative known as "The Mother," the film attempts to navigate the murky waters of a mother's sacrifice and the moral dilemmas of the criminal underworld.

The plot, dense with twists and betrayals, sees "The Mother" entangled in a love triangle with ex-SAS Captain Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes) and arms dealer Hector Álvarez (Gael García Bernal), leading to a pregnancy and subsequent descent into a world of child trafficking. Her efforts to dismantle this world from within while ensuring her daughter's safety are the crux of the narrative.

However, the film's ambition is its downfall. The protagonist, "The Mother," is a character shrouded in mystery and moral ambiguity. The lack of a real name is perhaps a metaphor for her elusive nature, but it creates a barrier to empathy. Jennifer Lopez portrays a character with a steely exterior and a tumultuous inner world, yet the audience struggles to connect with her. Her actions, though driven by a fierce maternal instinct, often come across as cold and unrelatable. This emotional disconnect is the movie's most significant pitfall.

Zoe, played by Lucy Paez, offers a glimmer of emotional depth in this otherwise action-dominated film. Her journey from an unknowing child to a daughter grappling with the harsh truths of her origin adds a layer of emotional complexity. Yet, the audience's inability to root for her reunion with "The Mother" underscores the film's central issue: the protagonist's likability, or lack thereof.

In conclusion, "The Mother" is a film that ambitiously tries to mesh action with deep emotional narratives but fails to make its central character, "The Mother," sympathetic or engaging. While it delivers in terms of action and suspense, it falters in its attempt to evoke a deeper emotional connection with its audience. The result is a film that feels disjointed, leaving viewers with a sense of unfulfilled potential.

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