A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Positive Role Models
Char struggles to determine if what's happening to her mother is rooted in mental illness or in sinister supernatural forces. Her peers bully her, even as one becomes her friend and teaches her how to smoke weed without coughing. Char's teacher tries to help her in some ways, but on the whole, the adults are either distracted or have their own problems.
Irish horror movie set in a North Dublin neighborhood. With the exception of one man and a couple teen boys who don't say much of anything, cast is almost entirely female. Movie strikes balance between rumors and explorations of Irish folklore and one character's struggles with mental illness and how her teen daughter struggles to cope with it.
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Violence & Scariness
A woman places a baby in a bonfire; sounds of baby shrieking as flames start to crackle. Creepy nightmare and monster imagery throughout. Woman under throes of either mental illness or demonic possession dances maniacally until she breaks her ankle. She throws her daughter against the wall, tries to kill her brother by grinding her lithium pills into powder and mixing them into his glass of water, resulting in him foaming at the mouth and convulsing. A woman shoves her hand down her throat to vomit her medication. Lots of bullying of lead character from older teens, including threats to set her face on fire with lighter and aerosol can, setting a photo of lead character's mother on fire, a lot of verbal abuse before climactic scene involving wood and lighter fluid.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teen bully makes a finger gesture signifying female oral sex at one of the lead characters.
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"F--k" often used. Also "bitch," "d--khead," "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens smoke weed -- including a scene in which a new friend of the lead character's teaches her how to smoke it without coughing. Cigarette smoking. In one scene, lithium pills are ground into powder and mixed into a glass of water, resulting in someone drinking it and going into convulsions and foaming at the mouth before hospitalization.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that You Are Not My Mother is an Irish horror movie in which a teen girl begins to suspect that there are sinister forces at work with her mentally ill mother's behavior. Expect some unsettling moments and creepy imagery -- for instance, in the opening scene a woman places an infant in a bonfire, and we hear the baby's shrieks as the smoke builds and the fire crackles. The lead character has skipped a grade in an Irish girl's school and is mercilessly bullied by her older teen classmates -- besides the verbal abuse, they threaten to, among other things, burn her face with a lighter and an aerosol can. The lead character's mother starts dancing to a '70s pop song and becomes increasingly spasmodic and violent in her dancing, resulting in breaking her ankle, shoving her daughter against a wall, and chasing her until the daughter hides in her bedroom. One teen teaches another how to smoke weed without coughing, and there's cigarette smoking too. "F--k" is often used. Lithium pills are ground into powder and mixed into a glass of water; someone drinks the water and goes into convulsions and foams at the mouth before being hospitalized. A teen bully makes a finger gesture signifying female oral sex at one of the lead characters. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is an unsettling Irish horror movie that masterfully blends the real and the supernatural. You Are Not My Mother is as much a story of growing up and the ravages of mental illness on individuals and their loved ones as it is a creepy story of demonic possession rooted in legend and folklore. Hazel Doupe is perfect as Char, a teen growing up in a bleak Dublin suburb -- bullied at school and contending with a mentally ill mother at home before things take an even more traumatic turn. Char comes across as likable, a good kid in situations that are bad in both typical and not-so-typical ways.
Many movies, and horror movies especially, have a tough time trying to balance the real with the fantastic, either getting one right at the expense of the other, failing at both, or resorting to clichés. In You Are Not My Mother, the real and the fantastic perfectly set each other off. The struggles of growing up in not-so-good situations offset and heighten the disturbing moments, of which there are more than a few. This is one of the better horror movies out there, and one not easily forgotten.
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