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MOVIE REVIEW

Ma

also known as “El sótano de Ma,” “Keva,” “Ma - Sie sieht alles,” “Mami,” “Mamps,” “Pri mami,” «Мамчето»
MPAA Rating: R-Rating (MPAA) for violent/disturbing material, language throughout, sexual content, and for teen drug and alcohol use.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Young-Adults
Genre:
Slasher-Horror
Length:
1 hr. 39 min.
Year of Release:
2019
USA Release:
May 31, 2019 (wide—2,750+ theaters)
Copyright, Universal Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
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Murderer who struggles with the after-effects of peer pressure, bullying and racism, social rejection, loneliness, and obsessive fixations

RACISM—What are the consequences of racial prejudice and false beliefs about the origin of races? Answer

Racism, Racial Issues and Christianity
Get biblical answers to racial hot-topics. Where did the races come from? How did skin color come about? Why is it important to have a biblical foundation for such issues?
Copyright, Universal Pictures

Trusting strangers that appears to be nice, but are not

Perversity of a woman who expresses sexual interest in teenage boys

Copyright, Universal Pictures

Seeking perverse revenge on adults through their children

How does Revenge Cinema affect society?

Copyright, Universal Pictures

Public display of sickeningly violent acts

Torture

Sadism

Mutilation

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Copyright, Universal Pictures

Kidnapping

Murder

About the fall of mankind to ultimate depravity

What is SIN AND WICKEDNESS? Answer

Copyright, Universal Pictures

Unsupervised teen parties

Underage drinking

About drunkenness

Illegal recreational drug use

Copyright, Universal Pictures

Teen cliques

Callous teens

Copyright, Universal Pictures

What is SEXUAL IMMORALITY? Answer

SEXUAL LUST outside of marriage—Why does God strongly warn us about this? Answer

PURITY—Should I save sex for marriage? Answer


Dirty mouths—affects of continual use of crude and vulgar language


ADULTERY by a father—this act betrays both the wife/mother, children, the partner and God

Featuring: Octavia SpencerSue Ann—“Ma”
Kyanna Simone SimpsonYoung Sue Ann
Diana SilversMaggie
Juliette LewisErica—Maggie’s mother
McKaley MillerHaley
Corey FogelmanisAndy Hawkins
Luke EvansBen Hawkins—Andy’s father
Andrew Matthew Welch (Matthew Welch) … Young Ben
Missi PyleMercedes—Ben’s girlfriend
Nicole Carpenter … Young Mercedes
Tate TaylorOfficer Grainger
Margaret FeganStephanie
Allison JanneyDoctor Brooks
Gianni Paolo … Chaz
Dante Brown … Darrell
Tanyell Waivers … Genie
Dominic Burgess … Stu
Heather Marie Pate … Ashley
See all »
Director: Tate Taylor
Producer: Blumhouse Productions
Hurwitz Creative
See all »
Distributor: Distributor: Universal Pictures. Trademark logo.
Universal Pictures

An absolutely distasteful and abhorrent film

Maggie and her mom have recently moved from San Diego back to their old hometown. Maggie is afraid, at first, of going to a new school and how to make friends. However, Maggie quickly adjusts to her new school and establishes some friends in the process (though these friends might not be the best influence).

You see, Maggie’s friends like to party… a lot. And what’s a party without some alcohol? The problem is that Maggie and her friends are only 16. So they persuade a local woman, Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer), to buy the alcohol for them. At first, Sue Ann is hesitant, but then figures, “Eh why not? I was young once!”

Of course, every party needs a rockin’ venue to hold it in, so Sue Ann suggests Maggie and her friends use Sue Ann’s basement to party. As Sue Ann states, “Hey I’d rather you kids be drinking in a controlled environment like this than out on the roads or something.” Sue Ann wants the kids to call her “Ma” and her only rules are: no taking the Lord in vain and no going upstairs (red flags anyone?)

Pretty soon, Sue Ann’s basement becomes the premier party capital for teens. But then strange things begin to occur, like Ma having the teens’ phone numbers, Ma spontaneously bursting out, Ma seducing the teen boys (more on that later). Now the teens are thinking, “Maybe we need to avoid Ma’s.”

Too late to close Pandora’s box, my friends.

I’ll get straight to the point: “Ma” is an absolutely distasteful and abhorrent film to lay eyes on. Everything that is wrong with this world is in this movie: teenage drinking, adults sexually seducing (and kissing) teens, violence, nudity, homosexuality references, stalking, drugging. Over and over, I thought, “Really, is this necessary? Come on!” On top of this, there is an abundance of vulgarity and profanity (see content below) that is just painful and uncomfortable to listen to.

So maybe your thinking, “Okay, Alexander, what about the actual filmmaking quality of ‘Ma”?” Apart from a very strong performance from Octavia Spencer and the girl who plays Maggie, the film, cinematically, is just average. The plot’s pacing is a little uneven at times. The rest of the teens’ performances feel forced (it is almost like they had given up half-way through the film). To the film’s credit, the character development of the Ma character, particularly, is well developed.

Content of Concern

VULGAR LANGUAGE: Extreme and unnecessary. Here’s the count: f*ck (40-50 including some used in song lyrics), bang (sexually), f*ck buggy (1), dumb-f*ck (1), m*ther f*cker (2), an obscene gesture is used (1), s*cks (2), c*nt (1), p*ssy (3), t*ts (1), fr*gin (a coverup for the f-word) (1), sh*t (20+), cr*p, a*ss (10+), a*ss-hole (2), and b*tch (10). Other bad language includes characters stating, “let’s get drunk,” “lets get filthy,” “Dad’s got a new f*** buddy,” loser (3), d*ck (1), sh*t-faced (1), p*ss (3), and a note states that a girl has a nice butt.

PROFANITY: Very Heavy— J*sus Chr*st (3), J*sus (1), G*d d*mn, G*d (17), d*mn (5), H*ll (7+)

SEX/SEXUAL DIALOG: Very Heavy to Extreme. Someone says, “That old chick really wants to sit on your face.” In a very uncomfortable scene we witness a woman sucking on a man’s genitals (his genitals aren’t shown). Someone mentions an adult wants to “bang” a teen. Ma very inappropriately flirts (and at one point kisses one) teenage boys. Someone mentions you should “go down on me.” Someone flashes their breasts (there is a bra on) (?), teens are seen having sex and making out. There are rather graphic verbal instruction about oral sex (female to male). A young girl is tricked into having sex in a closet with someone (it turns out the person she thought she was going to have sex with tricked her). There are homosexual references throughout the film, including one about Lesbianism. We witness two girls kiss. The employer Maggie’s mom works for is depicted as either effeminate or Gay (I couldn’t tell).

NUDITY: We witness Ma hold a man’s bare genitals; he is naked—some of it is obscured, but enough can be seen). We see a nude male forced to strip at gunpoint (we see him naked in the back and the front, but he covers his genitals). Female characters are shown wearing revealing clothing (short shorts and baring cleavage).

VIOLENCE: Very Heavy to Extreme. A boy’s bare stomach is steam ironed. A girl has her mouth sewn (we watch as a character does this to her). A policeman is killed. A fire starts and engulfs the house with fatal consequences. Someone is stabbed in the back. A character is graphically run over by a truck (we see her corpse and blood pouring out onto the street). Someone’s wrists are slit open and the person bleeds out. Someone is given animal blood. Girls are slammed against a wall. We see animals being dissected in a biology class. Verbal threats are made.

OTHER: There is a brief mockery of a Christian family. Someone suggests to a person they use a horse tranquilizer for their migraine. A character steals medicine out of a vet’s office. There is an abundance of scenes where teens are drinking, smoking (cigarettes and weed), and partying. Characters are drugged in unspeakable manners. A character stalks a variety of teens’ Facebook pages. A girl is seen finishing up in Ma’s bathroom. A mom convinces people her daughter is sick and wheelchair bound, which is a lie. A female teen states to her friends that “if you cry in front of the police, that’ll get you out of stuff.”

Even in a film such as “Ma,” there is a theme worth discussion. That is obsessively “living in the past.” ***SLIGHT SPOILER*** Ma, for the past 30 years, has re-lived a terrible memory over and over, and as such she has never been able to move past that moment, to the point where it has affected her job and her life as a whole. ***END SPOILER***

When we suffer, as Christians, we cannot linger on our suffering, as much as we may want to. It deadens our service to Christ and prevents us from being the true witnesses and testimony to the world of God’s greatness. Rather, when we suffer, we have a Savior who knows our suffering, knows our pain and, when we ask, will give us the strength to move forward. The Bible states the following:

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. —Nehemiah 8:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. —Isaiah 41:10

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe. —Proverbs 18:10

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. —Psalm 9:9-10

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. —Psalm 32:7-8

Finding our strength in God is the only way we can ably and fully serve Him, especially in times of trial and tribulation.

Summary

I live in an area where there are two theater multiplexes. Only ONE was showing “Ma” in one auditorium, while the other multiplex decided to double down on the screens and showtimes for the new “Godzilla” movie. After viewing, “Ma,” and all the obscene content I just encountered, I could honestly say that the one showing only “Godzilla,” and not “Ma,” made a very smart choice.

Plagued with heavy nudity, large amounts of vulgar sexual dialog, bullying and displaying moments of complete disrespect for authority, no one benefits from seeing “Ma”: not Christians, not families, and especially NOT teenagers. In short, I give this film two thumbs down. Do something more beneficial with your time.

  • Violence: Very Heavy
  • Profane language: Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Extreme
  • Nudity: Very Heavy
  • Sex: Moderately Heavy
  • Occult: None

Learn about DISCERNMENT—wisdom in making personal entertainment decisions

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


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Secular Movie Critics
…It quickly spins its shaky premise off into an unconvincing study of emotional need and an even harder-to-believe revenge thriller…
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
…cross between “Carrie” and “Misery”… a nasty yet surprisingly empathetic slab of exploitation with more than just carnage on its mind…
Benjamin Lee, The Guardian [UK]
…Even as the story descends into full bloody camp at its crescendo, Spencer holds the more ludicrous plot threads together…
Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
…it takes an amusing premise, reduces it to its most basic parts, then weighs it down with silly scare tactics…
Jude Dry, IndieWire