Parents' Guide to

Dear Mother

By JK Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Sexual violence, nudity, language in odd family dramedy.

Movie NR 2022 98 minutes
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This comedy is often wacky and ridiculous, but too much of its chaos is too hard not to grimace at. The performances in Dear Mother are committed, zany, goofy, and even admirable, especially given what's asked of them, but unfortunately the commitments of the performers can't save this Freudian inspired story of a man needing a photograph of his mother's vagina. For many viewers, it will feel just too icky to try to look for laughs while watching 3 adults sexually assault an older woman over and over, and to the point of her almost dying. The premise has to do with something about Jean-Louis needing to rectify his relationship with his mother, or he will die. And in order to do that he needs the photo. Because the photo will accomplish that magically, instantly, evidently. But over the course of the film, nothing about the journey nor its conclusion (the attaining of the photograph of his mother's vagina) has anything to do with Jean-Louis's relationship with his mother. In other words, by the end, Jean-Louis isn't all of a sudden "closer" to his mother nor is their relationship better, fixed, or different, really, at all. The only difference is that in the last however many days, her son, and his wife and friend, repeatedly sexually assaulted her, the friend even posing as a gynecologist, an infatuated lover, and a nude photographer. Sure, "hilarity" ensues, but the logic of the story doesn't make sense.

And the conclusion seems to suggest that through sexual violence, lying, manipulation, coercion, and false imprisonment one's goals can be achieved? The plot is basically a pro-Machiavellian exercise. Of all the goals or things the main character could've done to achieve or attain, why this goal? Because the idea, itself, is funny? Because it then authorizes scene after scene of sexual assault? Or is that merely a "comedic" bonus? Either way, what the film ends up with is an older woman character who is basically in the film only to be attacked. She is continuously "tricked" into believing her son actually wants to spend time with her and is eventually imprisoned to suffer attack after attack until she suffers a stroke or heart attack (isn't clarified).

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