THE MOTHER | Jennifer Lopez | Official Trailer | Netflix

However, the film’s fabric experiences a few frays that lead to a sloppy unraveling. Around the midpoint, characters slowly stop behaving as humans, and behave more like puppets functioning on behalf of the story. It also suffers from a villain problem where both of the evil exes are barely one dimensional, neither oppressive nor genuinely menacing due to Fiennes’ and Bernal’s lack of meaty material. Screenwriter contrivances guide the second-to-third-act transition. The Mother’s considerable abilities begin to slip for baffling reasons that run counter to her established character—early on she can mend a bullet wound with superglue, but later she can’t stitch a bite wound.


Given the solid pedigree behind these filmmakers—Caro directed Whale Rider and Mulan, Berloff wrote The Kitchen and Straight Outta Compton, Craig wrote The Town and The Batman and Green created Lovecraft Country—it’s a surprise to see their creative consommé turn out much less flavorful than expected. The Mother doesn’t examine, augment, or challenge the genre’s familiar formulas. We might wish for a motherlode of satisfaction when the needle finally drops on Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work,” but we find a shrug of contentment instead.

The Mother streams on Netflix beginning May 12.