Reviewed by: Pamela Gardner
|Featuring:||Jessica Chastain … Annabel
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau … Lucas/Jeffrey
Megan Charpentier … Victoria
Isabelle Nélisse … Lilly
Daniel Kash … Dr. Dreyfuss
Javier Botet … Mama
Jane Moffat … Jean Podolski/Mama (Voice)
Morgan McGarry … Young Victoria
David Fox … Burnsie
|Producer:||Toma 78 (Spain)
De Milo (Canada)
“Who is MAMA?”
“Mama” opens with a news anchor narration telling a story of a male employee who went to his former place of employment and opened fire on his former employers, killing one and critically injuring the other. The man then travels home to murder his wife, after committing these heinous acts (which are not actually shown). The man turns to his two young daughters. With his daughters scared and confused, the distressed father loads them in the car and begins to drive—speeding down an icy road. The father swerves and crashes the car, with the girls inside. Surviving the crash, the father finds an old cabin and takes the children inside. Overcome with guilt and shame, the man resolves to kill his daughters and then himself. Before the father can pull the trigger on his daughters, he is killed, leaving the daughters abandoned for 5 years. Although the girls are abandoned, they are not alone.
I originally saw the trailer a couple of months ago and wanted to see the film. Why? Two reasons, the acting talents of Jessica Chastain and the work of Guillermo del Toro. Having been scared out of my mind by his films including, “The Orphanage” and others, the man truly has a talent for horror. Back to acting, all around, the acting is above average for the genre. The two sisters played by Isabelle Nélisse and Megan Charpentier are eerily believable and add to the overall fear-filled plot. The acting of the other cast is better than expected for the typical horror flick. The plot is solid, easy to follow, but not predictable, which is refreshing. I must also mention the art direction and cinematography; it was top shelf and truly pulled me into the film.
As for objectionable content, to my surprise there wasn’t a lot. I counted 3 blasphemies (JC) and (“Thank you God” for a negative pregnancy test) and about 6 swear words. An unmarried couple (lead characters) is shown living together. No nudity or sex scenes, though. However, it’s still not for kids or teens, in my opinion.
The films deals with mother’s love, abandonment, mental illness, murder and demonic spirits. In this world of relative truth, it appears that the events in the story seem plausible, but we, as Christians, know the true truth, that there is a final judgment after death, ghosts/spirits don’t linger after death, and God and God alone will right all wrongs.
“Mama” will leave you with an unsettled feeling, especially toward the film’s ending. It is a scary movie; I covered my eyes and jumped,0 throughout. It’s ultimately your choice whether to view this film; I give 7.5 out of 10.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.