THE GOOD MOTHER – A Review by Jenn Rohm
Remember the feeling you get when you meet someone new, and they have a lot of drama happening in their life? I am talking about more than it seems someone should have. Of course, as you get to know them, pieces of history are given that start to explain why certain things have happened. The Good Mother, directed by Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, brought up these thoughts.
Set in Albany, NY in 2016 a man is running at night in the city. We hear a gunshot and then we go to Marissa (Hilary Swank) waking up. From her surroundings, we can tell she is what is sometimes called a functioning drunk. She gets up in the morning and gets to work, the struggle to just survive shows. A police officer shows up and pulls her out of a meeting, she learns one of her sons has been killed. Later we learn the officer is Toby (Jack Reynor), her other son. The journalist in her is starting to come back and she wants to know what happened to her son Michael (Madison Harrison). His girlfriend/mother in the making of his child Paige (Olivia Cooke) keeps Marissa focused.
This film is dark and gritty. Had the titles not advised of the year and heroin/fentanyl aka Mother’s Milk, been part of the story this could have been set in the 80’s up to now. Choices for lighting and music keep the vibe of struggling, lower-income, life-is-hard vibe that the characters in the story deal with.
I am a bit mixed on this film. I like the way it was filmed; I think the cast did a great job with what they had to work with. The story moved to the point it was wrapping up and I didn’t realize more than an hour had passed. At the same time, the story got lost. There was an opportunity for a strong murder mystery, and it was almost like an attempt to put in an Agatha Christie twist was made. As the writers are not actually the famed mystery author, it fell a bit short. I am guessing here, maybe the idea was to be a bit more realistic. When a plan fails and all the pieces are falling around you, what would someone do to cover for themselves?
Of the films I have seen so far in 2023, this one falls mid-point in the ranking of best to worst. If you want to get out of the heat for a matinee, this is one option for you.
Director: Miles Joris-Peyrafitte
Written By: Madison Harrison, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte
Cast: Oliva Cooke, Hilary Swank, Jack Reynor
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, some violent content, and drug material.
Genres: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Selig Rating: 3 stars
Runtime: 1h 29m
Release Date: September 1, 2023
Trailer: The Good Mother official trailer
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.
4 Stars – Good movie/show
3 Stars – OK movie/show
2 Stars – Well there was nothing else . . .
1 Star – Total waste of time.