2020 / 126m - Japan
Mother poster


December 02, 2020


A very solid but somewhat safe Japanese drama. Mother serves a story about bad parenting and neglect, which quickly draws parallels to Koreeda's Nobody Knows. The films would make a fine double bill, though Mother is slightly darker, entirely in line with Ohmori's other films.

Akiko is a single mom. She's lost the support of her family, she has terrible taste in men, and she has to raise a young boy named Shuhei. She often uses him as leverage to get money from others, but people are getting tired of her begging. Akiko's situation is bound to get worse when her latest lover leaves her behind pregnant with another kid.

Performances are great, especially since there are few sympathetic characters here. The cast makes sure that it's not so much a film about blame or good vs bad, but about tragic situations and their often inevitable outcomes. Stylistically Ohmori could've done more with Mother though. While not bad, it looks rather plain and expected. It's certainly not a bad film, but nothing too memorable.