- The Good Mom begins off as an attention-grabbing homicide thriller with commentary on the fentanyl epidemic, however struggles to discover a coherent course.
- The script tries to discover themes of grief and new beginnings, however lacks character improvement and fails to decide to its concepts.
- The movie barely scratches the floor of vital conversations and finally falls brief, regardless of the expertise of its actors.
Editor’s observe: This piece was written through the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. With out the labor of the writers and actors at present on strike, the film being coated right here would not exist.
The yr is 2016, throughout which fentanyl and different opioids have turn out to be a few of the main causes of drug overdose in Albany, NY. Michael Bennings (Madison Harrison) is a sufferer of drug abuse, although it isn’t straight what kills him in director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s opening sequence. As a substitute, Bennings is shot lifeless on the street throughout a drive-by. The start of The Good Mom units itself up as an attention-grabbing homicide thriller with a fantastic deal to say concerning the fentanyl epidemic. However because the movie progresses, it struggles to select a lane that is sensible for its story and their characters. Although The Good Mom incorporates nice expertise like Hilary Swank and Olivia Cooke, the predictable formulation holds it again from saying one thing significant.
Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank stars as Marissa Bennings, mom to the not too long ago killed Michael and a journalist on the Instances Union. That is now the second loss of life Marissa has skilled in her household (the earlier being her husband), and it slowly begins to take a toll on her work life and psychological well being. To manage, Marissa turns to alcohol whereas her different son Toby (Jack Reynor) buries himself with work as a neighborhood cop prepared to unravel his brother’s homicide. However then there’s Paige (Olivia Cooke), Michael’s pregnant girlfriend who’s adamant about her suspicions surrounding her lover’s loss of life. When Marissa and Paige kind an unlikely alliance to research Michael’s loss of life, a world of corruption is revealed together with darker secrets and techniques.
As with most homicide mysteries, The Good Mom follows the final development of figuring out probably suspects early on. By means of this, the script — by Madison Harrison and Miles Joris-Peyrafitte — makes an attempt to unravel three distinct themes by way of the actions of its characters. The primary is concerning the drug epidemic in the USA. Although the movie by no means will get into element, it offers a pleasant illustration of the repercussions inside this world. Swank’s Marissa, particularly, is compelled to grieve her son whereas uncovering darkish truths about him within the course of. Sadly, that’s the extent of the script’s exploration on this. Even Marissa’s journalism background takes a again seat the place it may have turn out to be useful, leading to a thriller that fails its personal characters.
The screenplay can be structured like a personality research centered round new beginnings and our inclination to course of grief by working from it altogether. With Marissa, she both buries herself in alcohol or turns a blind eye to issues proper in entrance of her. Fortunately, and due to Paige’s ongoing facet investigations, The Good Mom rises above a few of the limitations of the homicide thriller style. Nonetheless, by the movie’s finish, you notice the character improvement is sort of non-existent, or occur so abruptly that it’s tough to find out what drove them to sure selections. A extra gradual strategy to character adjustments would have benefited the movie tremendously.
In the direction of the later third of the movie, it’s obvious that the screenplay needs us to acknowledge that ethics and morals are most frequently blurred with regards to household. Had The Good Mom targeting this idea, the movie may have been one thing particular, acknowledged for extra than simply its predictable and formulaic storytelling. Nonetheless, the shortcoming to decide to its themes not solely made the story uninteresting, however it restricted the work of its actors as properly. Swank and Cooke make a fantastic pair onscreen and do all they’ll to raise the extra noteworthy elements with respect to their characters’ actions. But, it’s by no means fairly sufficient, resulting in an unmemorable viewing expertise.
For each attention-grabbing factor and theme inside this movie, there may be an equally disappointing one. The Good Mom barely scratches the floor of some vital conversations, which made it arduous to decide to the course of the story, and understandably so. Even with the gifted Swank and Cooke, nothing a lot comes from their rising relationship due to a script that does not decide to its obligations with respect to storytelling. Ambiguity can typically make a movie, leaving us the possibility to think about a inventive consequence for the characters we’ve come to know. Within the case of The Good Mom, nonetheless, the vagueness hurts it, leading to a forgettable expertise with no replay worth.
The Good Mom releases in theaters on September 1. The movie is 89 minutes lengthy and rated R for language all through, some violent content material, and drug materials.