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THE GOOD MOTHER (2023)

"Marred by an Unresolved Ending"

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What You Need To Know:

THE GOOD MOTHER stars Hillary Swank as Marissa, an alcoholic mother and newspaper reporter in Albany, New York seeking to uncover who killed her drug-addicted son. Marissa relies on her strained relationship with Paige, her late son’s pregnant girlfriend, to investigate the crime. Can Marissa and Paige solve Mike’s murder? Will they achieve justice?

Those questions seem to offer up obvious answers, but THE GOOD MOTHER doesn’t provide any easy ways out of its characters’ predicaments. The entire movie is grim, but the first hour is compelling because Marissa and Paige are both well-drawn characters played well by Swank and Olivia Cooke, respectively. Just when the storyline should kick into satisfying plot twists and stunning revelations in its final half hour, the plot collapses instead. A long and seemingly suspenseful segment ultimately goes nowhere, a possible culprit is completely unexplained, and Marissa makes an incredibly stupid choice about Paige’s baby while leaving justice unserved. The final scene is almost completely confusing. THE GOOD MOTHER also has excessive foul language, substance abuse and two shocking moments of violence. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for adults.

Content:

(B, C, LLL, VV, AA, DD, MMM)

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Light moral worldview as a mother tries to find out who shot her drug addicted son, but, though the mother’s mission is good, it takes place in bleak settings with bleak characters, and the story ultimately goes nowhere and remains unresolved, plus there are some light Christian elements, including a Christian pastor at a funeral, a positive reference to prayer and a neon sign says “Jesus Saves”

Foul Language:
At least 44 obscenities (28 “f” words) and one Jesus profanity, plus a woman vomits from the stench of a completely horrific drug den

Violence:
A man is shot dead by a passing car, man commits suicide by wrapping a cord around his neck with a heavy weight hanging out the window and eventually snapping his neck, a man and a pregnant woman get in a struggle on a set of basement stairs, the man knocks the pregnant woman backwards into the concrete floor and killing her though the baby is seen delivered from her dead body in a hospital, a woman slaps a woman hard in the face not realizing the victim is pregnant

Sex:
No sex

Nudity:
No nudity

Alcohol Use:
The lead character is a severe alcoholic and is seen drinking throughout, although this is not portrayed positively

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
A woman deals with her anxiety by putting an unlit cigarette in front of herself whenever she is tense, the cigarettes are only lit up once, plus big bags of a fentanyl-heroin mixture are seen several times, a “safe injection site” where addicts can get illegal drug injections from volunteers is spotlighted in one scene with a one closeup of an injection, as a character speaks positively that this is the solution to drug overdose deaths, and two mothers in a 12-step support group discuss at length the impact of illegal drugs and how their children overdosing devastated their lives; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Horrible acts and betrayals are covered up by major lies throughout the story.

More Detail:

THE GOOD MOTHER stars Hillary Swank as a mother in Albany, New York trying to uncover who killed her drug addicted son. THE GOOD MOTHER is a downbeat thriller without many thrills, wasting some tense atmosphere in the first hour on an unbelievably stupid series of events and decisions in the movie’s third act that ultimately renders the movie’s story thoroughly unresolved.

The movie stars two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank as Marissa, an alcoholic mother and newspaper reporter seeking to uncover who shot her drug-addict son dead. The movie’s only truly strong feature is Swank’s strong performance of a woman at the end of her rope. The movie shows Marissa waking up with a half-empty glass of booze on the table next to her bed. It quickly becomes clear that she can’t stay away from alcohol, and it’s affecting her judgment and appearance.

When she shows up at a newspaper meeting, she’s soon called away by her cop son, Toby, who informs her that her son Michael has been shot dead in the seediest part of town. Marissa decides to search for what happened and the people and reasons behind the murder. She relies on her strained relationship with Paige, her late son’s pregnant girlfriend.

The two believe that Mike’s drug-dealing friend, Ducky, knows everything about who killed Mike. However, when she tries to find him to get answers, she finds that he has committed suicide. Paige soon finds out that Toby has some shocking secrets of his own.

Can Marissa and Paige ever solve Mike’s murder? Will they manage to achieve justice?

Those questions may seem to offer up obvious answers, but THE GOOD MOTHER doesn’t provide any easy ways out of its characters’ predicaments. The entire movie is grim, but the first hour is compelling because Marissa and Paige are both well-drawn characters played well by Swank and Olivia Cooke, respectively. The drab cinematography makes the city of Albany, New York, as drab and empty as its characters’ souls.

However, just when the storyline should kick into satisfying plot twists and stunning revelations in its final half hour, the plot collapses instead. A long and seemingly suspenseful segment where Marissa tracks Trevor far outside the city ultimately goes nowhere. Also, a possible culprit is completely unexplained, and Marissa makes an incredibly stupid choice about Paige’s baby while leaving justice unserved. The final scene is almost completely confusing.

The poorly executed final act in THE GOOD MOVIE makes the movie unappealing. Also, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution because of the movie’s excessive foul language, its unredeemed dark subject matter and at least two shocking violent moments.

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.