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  • Writer's picturePopEntertainment

Goodnight Mommy (A Movie Review)

Updated: May 15, 2023


Starring Naomi Watts, Cameron Crovetti, Nicholas Crovetti, Peter Hermann, Crystal Lucas-Perry and Jeremy Bobb.

Screenplay by Kyle Warren.

Directed by Matt Sobel.

Distributed by Amazon Studios. 91 minutes. Rated R.

Despite its sweet, soothing title, Goodnight Mommy packs a punch.

A remake of a 2014 Austrian thriller of the same name (I have not seen the original, but I’ve been told by people who have that it is even darker and more violent than the American reboot), Goodnight Mommy has a constantly shifting nightmare scenario. Every time you think you have figured out where it is going, the storyline shifts in a new direction.

It is a very claustrophobic narrative. Although a few other characters pop up briefly – two local cops and the father – the great majority of the time is spent in a remote, sprawling, sterile-looking country house with a mother and her two twin sons.

Or is it the mother?

You see, the whole point of Goodnight Mommy is that the mother has had some sort of cosmetic surgery and she must wear a cloth mask covering her entire head. And she is acting odd, no longer the loving, doting mother the young kids remember. She is often mean, very controlling and seems to be spinning out of control. Also, she now is smoking, she seems to be ignoring one of the twins for the other, and she ripped up a drawing of the family that one of the boys made as a present.

Has she been fundamentally changed by whatever caused the surgery? Is it possible that it is someone entirely different underneath the mask and bandages? Or could something even more nefarious be happening?

Every time you think you know it turns out you are wrong.

Even when you realize that the film is manipulating you and leading you down blind alleys – essentially there are two major MacGuffins before the final twist, and you feel the plotline being pulled in those directions with little subtlety – the storyline keeps you guessing. And the ending, while not exactly satisfying, certainly is a shock.

I’m told the original European film was better than the Americanized remake (they almost inevitably are), and I can believe it. Goodnight Mommy is certainly an imperfect film – it moves slowly sometimes, and the character motivations are often murky – however it still does connect as a pitch-dark view of family relations.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2022 All rights reserved. Posted: September 17, 2022.

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