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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MAMA Review. The Ending Will Leave Audiences Divided

MAMA Review 

What did RAMA think of the ending of the film?

MAMA is creepy as hell. Plain and simple. Interesting concept and expansion from writer/director Andres Muschietti who came up with the original short film. Exec-produced by one of my favorite geekmeisters, Guillermo del Toro, though MAMA is not perfect, it has enough scare to keep you up at night…

Five years ago, sisters Victoria and Lilly vanished from their suburban neighborhood without a trace. Since then, their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), have been madly searching for them. But when, incredibly, the kids are found alive in a decrepit cabin, the couple wonders if the girls are the only guests they have welcomed into their home. As Annabel tries to introduce the children to a normal life, she grows convinced of an evil presence in their house. Are the sisters experiencing traumatic stress, or is a ghost coming to visit them? How did the broken girls survive those years all alone? As she answers these disturbing questions, the new mother will find that the whispers she hears at bedtime are coming from the lips of a deadly presence.

Is it just me or the recent movies that Guillermo del Toro has been producing or exec-producing, because he loves helping promoting other aspiring filmmakers and protégé, seem to have similar storyline where a woman who’s not a mother, is eventually put in a position where she willingly becomes the mother figure, in order to help protect the children (Il Orfanato, Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, MAMA). GDT-produced ghost movies also go for the ghosts-are-victims plot, the reason why they’re angry because they’ve been wronged in one way or the other in the past life, which leads to endings that usually involve self sacrifice or the sacrifice or another. MAMA is no different. In its essence, it’s about two girls abandoned in an empty cabin for years, when they were found, they brought home with them an entity that had accompanied them in that supposedly empty cabin.

Jessica Chastain plays the woman who reluctantly agrees to help take care of the children and eventually becomes that mother figure, but she goes up against a whole other mother figure that the children have learned to look up to and depend on, when nobody was around to help them. So it’s a tug-of-war game of Chastain Vs. Mama and what’s at stake is the well being of the children, which by the way was well-played by two fantastic child actors.

MAMA has a few weak points, there are times when it seems that Muschietti doesn’t know how to fit Nikolaj-Coster Waldau’s character into the story after he’s hospitalized and escaped. There are some annoying inconsistencies and unexplained gaps along the way. And as much as I admire Jessica Chastain, she’s a terrific actress, I think this is a case of miscasting, because I can’t get myself to believe that she can be a bassist in a punk rock band, perhaps if the filmmakers have chosen a different profession for her role, I wouldn’t be too judgmental about it.

The ending will leave audiences divided on the morality of it all, and there are things that MAMA could’ve done to make itself a more well-made film, but it’s creepy enough, it’s unique enough to keep you up at night.

GRADE: 3 out of 5

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