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Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Tons of language, blood, teen drinking in so-so thriller.

Movie R 2019 99 minutes
Ma Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 12 parent reviews

age 18+


I had high hopes for this movie based on the trailer expecting it to be a typical psychological thriller teaching a life lesson of the effects of teenage naivety. I was EXTREMELY disappointed in this movie & barely made it past the first scene. I assumed the R rating was for language and violence and maybe some drug/alcohol use but I was mistaken. The number of INTENSELY GRAPHIC sex/nudity related content in this movie was absolutely horrific & shameful!!! If you’re sensitive to sexual content DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE!!!! There were no lessons taught, no character development & no clear message. It was just 2 hours of senseless, completely unnecessary & unsolicited/ abrupt obscenity & gore that did not add to the plot whatsoever & only resulted in intense discomfort. I was utterly disgusted & it made for THE MOST disturbing movie experience of my life!!!!! If I could choose a higher age rating I would because no teenager or person with an impressionable mind should be watching this movie because it will only scar you.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
age 18+



This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (12 ):
Kids say (27 ):

This so-so thriller goes hard with the mature content (language, blood, drinking, sex) but stays rather sedate in the character department, content to keep Spencer's "Ma" at arm's length. Ma is a strange combination: It's like an edgy, misfit Blumhouse (Get Out, Happy Death Day, etc.) production crossed with the work of director Tate Taylor (The Help, Get On Up), who specializes in safe, message-heavy dramas. Spencer won an Oscar for her work in The Help -- and she's an awesome performer in general (see Fruitvale Station, Snowpiercer, Hidden Figures, The Shape of Water, and more). It's puzzling that she would be interested in Sue Ann, other than the chance to have fun going crazy.

Her character's entire psychology is explained by a simple flashback that's interspersed throughout the story but treated so secretively that it feels like it should have built to more. And her final snap feels preposterous, a huge leap of logic. She winds up a monster, rather than pitiable. The teens are likable enough, though Silvers also appears in the much better Booksmart; it's a far smaller role, but it's so much more vivid than what she has here. And, to rub it in, Lewis' character announces in one scene that she's binging a John Hughes marathon on TV, further reminding us that these characters just don't have much inner life. Overall, Ma isn't terrible, but it feels more like those behind it were enjoying "slumming" in the horror genre, without the kind of dedication it takes to make something truly affecting.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: May 31, 2019
  • On DVD or streaming: September 3, 2019
  • Cast: Octavia Spencer , Missi Pyle , Allison Janney
  • Director: Tate Taylor
  • Inclusion Information: Gay directors, Black actors, Female actors
  • Studio: Universal Pictures
  • Genre: Horror
  • Run time: 99 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: violent/disturbing material, language throughout, sexual content, and for teen drug and alcohol use
  • Last updated: July 2, 2022

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