Thursday 20 July 2023

REVIEW: The Mother (2023) - Starring Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes and Lucy Paez

Review by Jon Donnis
I had "The Mother" queued up to watch for a while now, but it kept getting pushed back by some of the bigger releases out there, well I finally got chance to see the film tonight, but was I happy I finally saw it? or did I waste my time? Read on to find out.

In a thrilling tale of intrigue and danger, an anonymous U.S. military operative, known as "The Mother," (Jennifer Lopez ) becomes entangled in a dangerous web of arms smuggling and romance. She brokers a deal between ex-SAS Captain Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes) and the notorious arms dealer Hector Álvarez (Gael García Bernal). Unbeknownst to her, both men are involved in child trafficking.

Complicating matters further, The Mother finds herself romantically linked to both Lovell and Álvarez, and she eventually becomes pregnant. Horrified by the revelation of their criminal activities, she decides to take a stand and seeks help from the FBI, becoming an informant to expose the child trafficking ring.

During an intense interrogation at a secure location with FBI Special Agent William Cruise (Omari Hardwick), The Mother's world is shattered when Lovell launches an attack on the safe house. In the ensuing chaos, Agent Cruise is shot and other FBI agents lose their lives. Displaying remarkable bravery and ingenuity, The Mother saves Cruise's life by devising a time-delayed bomb that incapacitates Lovell.

However, the confrontation with Lovell leaves The Mother gravely injured, we learn she is pregnant and is then stabbed in her stomach. Following the ordeal, she gives birth prematurely to a baby girl while in the hospital.

SAIC Eleanor Williams (Edie Falco), the FBI's Special Agent in Charge, delivers heartbreaking news to the Mother. Lovell's body is missing, and due to the danger posed by their enemies, her newborn daughter must be placed with a foster family for protection. With a heavy heart, the Mother realizes that her child will never be safe in her care and reluctantly waives her parental rights.

Though heartbroken, the Mother establishes a unique arrangement with Agent Cruise. She insists that her daughter, Zoe (Lucy Paez), should have as ordinary a life as possible, but requests to receive a photo of Zoe on each birthday. Furthermore, she implores Cruise to contact her if Zoe's safety is ever compromised.

With her old life shattered, The Mother retreats to a remote cabin in Alaska, seeking solace and safety from her former army colleague, Jons (Paul Raci).

Fast forward twelve years, and the peaceful existence the Mother has cultivated is abruptly disrupted. Agent Cruise contacts her urgently, revealing that the ATF has stumbled upon a photo of Zoe in connection to Álvarez's men. Fearing that Zoe is in grave danger, The Mother reunites with Cruise to investigate further.

While shadowing Zoe playing at a park, the worst nightmare comes true, Álvarez's men kidnap her. The Mother's maternal instincts and formidable training kick into high gear as she takes down several of the attackers before escaping with Cruise. While he believes Zoe's kidnapping to be for ransom, the Mother knows that she has been deliberately lured out of hiding to protect her daughter from ruthless criminals.

The stage is set for an epic showdown as the Mother is forced to confront her past and do whatever it takes to save Zoe from the clutches of evil. The stakes are higher than ever before, and the Mother's determination to protect her daughter will be put to the ultimate test.

In many ways this film is separated into two distinct parts. The bad guys tracking down Zoe to lure out The Mother, and ultimately kidnapping the girl, and then The Mother rescuing Zoe and then teaching her how to look after herself.

There are elements of the 2011 TV series Hanna in the second part of the film. Lopez gets to shine here as the lead action star of this film, a part she plays well. You can tell she got into great shape to play the part of The Mother.

The action scenes are all really well shot, you the viewer will feel great sympathy for The Mother throughout, her history, what she gave up, and her "do anything" attitude to save and protect her child.

Now with this being a Netflix film, you know that "The Algorithm" would have set forth a load of plot points for this film, which means every cliche in the book is ticked, and the film is not at all original, but with that said, this is a fun action thriller, which does take you on an emotional rollercoaster. There is even a family of wild wolves that you will care about.

The Good
A strong performance by Lopez carries the film. An unoriginal plot perhaps, but a well told story nonetheless.

Set pieces are well filmed, the ending is pleasing if predictable.

The Bad
I am curious if the story was rewritten a few times, as there are a few confusing moments, we also never learn who got The Mother pregnant , unless I missed it?

At 1 hour 45 minutes it is a bit too long, this film does not need to be more than 85 minutes long.

Another Netflix paint by numbers film, but that is not always a bad thing. If you like action thrillers, already have a Netflix account and like J-Lo (and who doesn't), then this is a film you will enjoy.

I score The Mother a solid 7.5/10