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Adrienne Jones

I Actually Thought Jennifer Lopez’s The Mother Was Thoroughly Enjoyable And Need To Talk About It

jennifer lopez in the mother

If there’s one thing that’s true, it’s that nearly every new Netflix movie that features major stars will land in the streamer’s Top 10 shortly after it debuts. Though there’s really no telling how universally adored these movies are by those with a Netflix subscription who watch them, even if they are, there’s a pretty good bet that any critics who weighed in on the service’s big hits have some differing opinions about just how watchable they might be. Such is the case with the recent Jennifer Lopez release, The Mother.

The action film features the Hustlers star as she takes a break from her recent string of romantic comedies to play an assassin who has to come out of hiding to protect the daughter she gave up over a decade ago. And, one look at the reviews for The Mother tells me that critics have been less than enthusiastic about what it entails. However, I found it thoroughly enjoyable to watch, and figured now was as good a time as any to talk about why. Let’s go!

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Star Is Great As A Military Sniper Who Made Some Terrible Life Decisions

Lopez’s unnamed The Mother gets her start as an amazingly talented military sniper, who has few prospects outside of her highly skilled position, and little hope for a solid future, so she lets herself get tangled up with two dangerous arms dealers in the hope of securing a living for herself going forward. 

We already know that the Shotgun Wedding star is magnetic on screen, and she is completely believable as someone smart and skilled who was still so desperate to figure out her post-military life that she made some really bad choices. I think this movie combines everything we love about Lopez when we see her in a film. She commands attention, makes us root for her even when we see her doing the wrong thing, and though she’s far from rom-com adorable here, she does also get a chance to bring her considerable charismatic sexiness to the part. 

The only misstep may be when they actually dared to put her in a dress that literally made her butt look like the peach emoji, but it didn’t take away from her actual performance and the wardrobe is hardly all JLo’s fault!

(Image credit: Netflix)

All Of The Action Scenes Are Exactly What I Want From A Movie Like This

Look, if you’ve seen more than a handful of action movies, you pretty much know what you’re getting out of a film like this. It’s hard, especially after well over a decade of superhero movies, for an action flick to have me on the edge of my seat. 

I know the lead character is unlikely to get seriously hurt, especially before the final act, so watching a movie where the scenes are fast-paced, well-choreographed and feature some cool locations is exactly what I’m looking for, and that’s what this film delivers. All I needed was to see Lopez battle/blow away some mostly nameless and sometimes faceless henchmen, and she did!

(Image credit: Netflix)

Lopez Gets A Solid Assist From Lucy Paez, Omari Hardwick, And Others

Luckily, The Mother cast stands firmly beside Lopez to help make this an overall enjoyable experience. I’ll get to the actors playing the bad guys in a minute, but Lucy Paez, who portrays her endangered daughter, Zoe, does her job well. Zoe’s alternately terrified, a bit annoying, trying to do what’s expected of her while attempting to bond with her hardened biological mom, and just really sad about not being back in her calm life with her adoptive parents, and Paez gives us all of that perfectly. 

Omari Hardwick is another standout, as his FBI agent, Cruise, starts the film as the only one who seems willing to take it somewhat easy on The Mother, who’d come to them with evidence against her two evil ex-lovers while pregnant. We can see the potential for something romantic between the two of them, but the film doesn’t actually go there, leaving Cruise as a sympathetic character who’s willing to go to great lengths to keep the promise he made to The Mother, and appears to respect her efforts to try and make up for her past.

Hell, we even got one scene with Edie Falco as a no-nonsense FBI agent, and she was just as reliably tense and terse and we needed her to be. Great job all around!

(Image credit: Netflix)

Those Villains Don’t Have Much Depth, But Why Do We Need Them To?

The main complaint about this movie seems to be that it sticks with genre tropes and doesn’t go above and beyond, which also applies to the villains. Werewolf by Night star Gael García Bernal plays arms dealer Hector Álvarez, while Joseph Fiennes portrays The Mother’s mentor, Adrian Lovell, and I will admit that their characters don’t have much depth. Both are simply bent on revenge for having their nefarious operations sold out by The Mother. Fiennes has the role of the gently mustache-twirling villain, while Bernal is the showy Big Bad who likes to sit around in rooms filled with guns, ammo, and an altar with maybe 100 lit candles on it.

And, you know what? I loved them both! Why do we need more than their quest for revenge at any cost? This film is about the woman at the center of the story. I don’t need to know who hurt these men when they were kids so that they thought crime was the only way to get ahead in life. They’re bad enough to kidnap a child (who is the daughter of one of them, by the way) just to get to The Mother, so I want to see her win. Period. End of story!

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Story Is Just Tense Enough

Sure, it’s nice when any movie (or TV show, for that matter) steps outside of the normal confines of its genre and gives us way more than we were expecting, but let’s not pretend that a basic premise done well can't be just as enjoyable. As mentioned, all the relevant pieces are at play in this action film, including the story. A woman with a checkered past has to save her kid from the bad men she brought into their lives? How is that not great? 

Plus, I’m not in the mood any more for anything that stresses me out too much, and the story here was just tense enough to keep me interested, while not making me want to crawl out of my skin. I appreciate that in a thriller nowadays, OK?

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Sub-Plot With The Wolves Is Kinda On The Nose, But Serves A Purpose

Honestly, with how on the nose it was to have The Mother live near an actual wolf mother who was protecting/caring for her pups over the course of the movie, I thought for sure that the wolf was going to end up saving JLo’s character near the end. Aside from the obvious connection between what each of them have to do during the story, the wolves do show just how committed The Mother was to staying out of sight once she gave up Zoe. She’s really spent 10+ years roughing it in the wilds of Alaska, just so her kid would have a normal life. I don’t mind the presence of the wolves for exemplifying that.

(Image credit: Netflix)

There’s A Happy Ending That Implies More Could Be Coming

I doubt anyone really thought that the titular character wouldn’t be able to save Zoe, but The Mother ending is even better than that, because it shows that the biological parent and her kid will have a more chill, loving relationship going forward. Even if we don’t get a sequel (though I’m proposing one several years down the line, where Zoe is a few years into her own military career, gets into a mess, and needs The Mother to come help her out), we know that they’re now forging parent/child bonds, and I love that for them!

Listen, I’ve now spent years doing more, and am totally ready to do less, so I’m very willing to accept the same from my movies. Though The Mother might not grab the genre by the balls and turn it on its head, I can still fully appreciate a movie that does the basics well, and am completely satisfied with what this film gave me. Salud!

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