Forgotten Friday Flick – “Mother” (2009)

Sometimes even foreign filmmakers have a few notable movie skeletons in their high-profile cinematic closet that yearn to be exposed – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  This week we highlight a lesser-known but still masterful thriller about a determined mother willing to go to any (and I do mean ANY!) lengths to keep her sweet son out of harms way.  A murder, a mystery and mom is on the case!  It’s my #1 movie pick of that year brought back to life for your convenience – Bong Joon-ho’s five-star film…Mother.

Like most parents, Do-joon’s mom constantly worries about her sweet son.  Shy and suffering from a mental disability, the trusting Do-joon is a source of great concern and attention for the hard working widow.  So when a local high school girl is found dead and circumstantial evidence places Do-joon at the crime scene, the doting mother finds herself now caring for her boy again – only this time it’s to save his very life.  She tries to plead to his defense attorney, the police and anyone who will listen that she believes her simple son innocent.  But no hope in sight, she takes off to investigate – all by herself.

It’s at this point where the concerned parent plot takes a dark turn and where Mother gets even better.  There’s much at play within the film’s dim corridors; sex, violence, torture and even a pinch of cold-blooded killing.  But an uplifting and hopeful side beautifully balances it out as well and the duality of these opposites is where the brilliant Bong Joon-ho and his work come to life.  In his previous film The Host, he mixed the elements of an old school monster picture with the dynamic of a dysfunctional family to terrific original results.  But with Mother it’s grace that’s mixed into the mayhem that makes up the films’ emotional rollercoaster – and it’s a wild ride worth taking.

As the lead momma, veteran Korean actress Kim Hye-ja gives one subtle and riveting performance.  It could have been easy to take this part way over the top, but the wise Hye-ja underplays the joy and sorrow, all the while portraying a woman with a singular focus to protect her son at all costs – it’s amazing work.

Some will never see Mother due to it’s Korean language and roots, but I say remakes be damned.  There’s a reason they lift stories from these films – they’re that damn good!  And Mother is a classic example of what a nuanced filmmaker can do with a story that’s simple, led by an actress who isn’t.  Pamela Voorhees and Joan Crawford be damned – this mean mother has got your back.


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

2 Responses to “Forgotten Friday Flick – “Mother” (2009)”

  1. Michael Coleman

    This is an absolutely riveting whodunit, a masterpiece from the maker of The Host, Okja and Snowpiercer. Another great 5 star choice Jason, and another gem from Korean film makers.

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Love this movie. It was one of the first Bong Joon-Ho films I ever saw.