The Mother (2023) Review
A mother’s love knows no bounds; she will do everything to protect her children. In The Mother, directed by Niki Caro, one mother is pushed to her limits to save her child. Jennifer Lopez plays an ex-assassin who uncovers a mob secret. She was involved with two men: Hector Alvarez (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes), who were trafficking weapons and drugs. When she discovers their horrible secret, she runs to the FBI and warns them. Unfortunately, she is in danger, and Lovell finds her. In the opening scene, we find out she’s pregnant, and Lovell will stop at nothing to kill her and the baby. Fortunately, after a makeshift bomb, she escapes. But she is forced to put her daughter in the foster system to give her a fair shot at a normal life.
She asks FBI agent Cruise (Omari Hardwick) to keep an eye on her daughter Zoe (Lucy Paez) and to call her if anything does happen. Jennifer Lopez is incredible in this role. And it’s unlike anything she has done before. It is a heartbreaking story, created by Misha Green, that is wrapped into an action film. Lopez was emotionless and detached from everyone because she had to be. The only time she ever did express her sadness was when talking about her daughter. The film is a strong character piece for Lopez to show her talent, and it is possibly one of her best performances. From quiet moments to action set pieces, Lopez was locked in, and she brought the audience along for the ride.
There is a balance between softer moments with Lopez and Paez and long action set pieces. The film was not repetitive because they were in new locations with a new objective, whether Zoe was with her mother or not. There was a period where Lopez and Paez had a chance to bond when she was under her protection which made the second half of this film switch gears. Some action scenes were well-executed because of the fight choreography. The tight-knit hand-to-hand worked better than the car/motorcycle chases because of the editing choices. When there are one too many cuts in a chase sequence, it feels more jarring than giving that fast-paced feel for the adrenaline boost.
The Mother showcases a different side of Lopez, who really should do more action flicks. Not only did she bring physicality to the role of an ex-assassin, but she sold it with her impassioned performance. At times it does dip into the generic territory, but the emotional story about a mother being reunited with her daughter for a short period to protect her grounds all the violence. There are great fight scenes for Lopez, and she delivers menacing moments. She shows the full spectrum of what a mother entails, even through her training as an assassin. Even when it does feel like it’s running long, the chemistry between Lopez and Paez makes it worthwhile. Audiences can see that women have to suffer through many decisions and be brave in the choices that they do make.
Review by: Amanda Guarragi
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