By Nathan Gordon | firstname.lastname@example.org | @GordonRises
Mama | Directed by Andrés Muschietti | Rated PG-13
I will admit that when I first heard about and saw the trailer for Mama, I instantly assumed that it was going to be awful. The plot seemed stupid, I don’t really trust horror movies that are released in January, and the last horror movie I saw that had Guillermo del Toro’s involvement in it was Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (if you saw that movie then you know why it falls as a negative). Then after actually seeing the film, I walked away proven wrong somewhat.
Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) finally discovers his two missing nieces after they disappeared with their father five years ago. Since the father’s whereabouts are still unknown and with the mother dead, Lucas and his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain) take them in. An unfortunate event leads to Annabel having to take care of the girls by herself for a while. As Annabel attempts to play mom, she gets the feeling that something or someone is trying to get in the way of that.
Chastain is in the Hollywood spotlight now thanks to her critically acclaimed performance in, last years released, Zero Dark Thirty so of course she’s the one of the cast who everyone expects to shine. Once again she doesn’t disappoint. Chastain is very believable as the girlfriend who is uncomfortable with this new motherhood that has been forced upon her. Besides Chastain, the performances from Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nélisse as the two nieces are very well done. Though it’s hard to imagine how exactly children would act after living in a rundown cabin in the woods for 5 years, Charpentier and Nelisse do a good job trying to give their take on it. Since the two girls entered the cabin in two different stages of the childhood, I was happy to see how the film showed the different impacts that isolation had on each girl’s growth.
The idea of a being watching over the two girls as a mother type figure actually played out better than I expected it to. Watching the jealous “Mama” deal with the new parent figures that are around and how each niece acts toward the situation was quite interesting. You can tell some realistic thought was put into developing the characters.
The character of “Mama” might of meant to come off as scary, but to me felt silly. Everything from her looks, to her movement, and to her powers she seemed to possess.
Now to me what seemed like the hands-down worse part of the film was the final act. The whole final act played out as if whoever was writing this movie was really thinking long and hard about the beginning and middle but when it came to the end they were getting tired and wanted to hurry up and finish the script because they were getting so close to the finish line. There were some drops of good elements in the end but they were overshadowed by the complete decline the story took. Some of the ideas used should of just stayed ideas.
Shocking, after some thought, the ending didn’t completely kill the movie for me. Endings have a habit of either making or breaking movies for me this time it didn’t do either, it just hindered my enjoyment of it somewhat. The ending should thank the performances of Chastain, Charpentier and Nelisse for why I didn’t jump all the way down to completely hating this film.