The U.S. opioid epidemic seems to have spanned a heap of movies and limited series tackling the issue. Director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s The Good Mother is one such entry to this ever-growing genre.

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While billed as a crime thriller, the Academy winner Hillary Swank starring film is more of a sleepy family drama where everyone involved in the production seems to have lost interest in telling this mediocre story.

Where can you watch The Good Mother in the UAE?

The Good Mother is currently playing in cinemas across the UAE, such as VOX Cinema and Reel Cinemas.

The Good Mother Review

2.5 /5
Pros:
  • Hilary Swank
  • Some compelling commentary on contemporary issues

Cons:

  • Dull
  • Underwhelming twist
  • More drama than thriller

The Good Mother starts promising enough – A young man walking down the sinister-looking streets of Albany, New York. He looks upset. And then there’s a gunshot.

When we first meet our protagonist, Marissa (Swank), she drinks too much and has all but given up on life and her journalistic career. Being slightly hungover and fed-up is Marissa’s default mode. So when her police officer son, Toby (Jack Reynor), interrupts a work meeting to tell her about her estranged son, Michael’s murder in a drive-by shooting, she’s almost unsurprised. The mother and son have been estranged for months due to his drug addiction. 

At the funeral, Marrisa is shocked to learn that Michael’s girlfriend, Paige, is pregnant with her granddaughter. The older woman does get to punch poor Paige first before becoming aware of her condition. 

The two women work on making amends with one another while getting into an off-the-books investigation into what happened the night Michael was murdered. The police seem convinced Michael’s friend Ducky was responsible, but Paige and Marissa believe there’s more to the story. 

Promising yet dull drama

As the film slowly moves towards its conclusion, the truth about what happened to Michael becomes irrelevant. This is a drama film where Marissa’s grief takes centre stage. The most compelling parts are when we watch Marissa and Paige trying to build a semblance of family connection in honour of Michael’s memory. Everything else fades into the background of an otherwise underwhelming feature. 

On paper, The Good Mother has all the makings of an exciting crime thriller. There’s a murder, sleuthing, and an A-lister cast. But the execution is as lacklustre as the film is boring. Aside from Swank, who does the best with what she’s given, the cast doesn’t seem particularly invested in their characters, and most of the scenes have them slowly and quietly discussing things. 

We get a lot of tells, but not enough show. Not much happens during the runtime, and when we get to the final act and its underwhelming twist, it’s nowhere near as poignant as the film would like itself to be. Looking at the narrative overall, it doesn’t make much sense, nor does it all come together at the end. It’s almost as if the writers wanted to shock but didn’t quite plan how. 

While not a terrible film, The Good Mother feels like an underdeveloped attempt at monetizing a viral topic constantly in the headlines. The beginning is intriguing before the movie devolves into an inconsequential and uninteresting family drama. 

Lori C
Lori C

Lori C. is an entertainment writer who studied Film and Television at University. She watches and reviews films and series from most genres, but some of her favourites include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld, and True Blood.

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