Goodnight Mommy Review
"Goodnight Mommy" is something I didn't quite expect tonight. Going into the film, I knew that it was about a mother (Susanne Wuest) comes home from surgery to her twin boys Lukas and Elias (Lukas and Elias Schwarz). She has a mask over her face due to her surgery from a mysterious accident. What are the details of this accident? We never find out, we just know it really hurt her face. But through it all, the boys find something off about this woman claiming to be their mother. She doesn't act like their normal mother would, and Elias can't understand why his mother doesn't want him talking to his older brother. The boys try to investigate why this happening, and they take a little too far.
How far is too far? How about tying the mother to the bed? I will say that "Goodnight Mommy" takes a little too long to really get going. Once the movie is in full swing and the mother is bound to the bed, the movie really goes off its rails. It features an ending that really made the movie. Its the type of ending that makes a pretty good movie accelerate right to great. Although, I still have to admit that I wished the first half of the movie fired on the same cylinders that the ending and last half did. There is definitely some shocking imagery in the first half, but its a real slow start. Almost too slow for my taste, but this crushing ending really made up for it. I can't get into the details of the ending, because I do not want to spoil anything, although I think you have all the clues you'll probably need.
There is a surreal quality to the movie that is quite engaging and I have to say that the work by the Schwarz brothers is absolutely captivating. These are two fine young actors, and I really hope we see more of them. We follow them through the entire movie and they are in front of the camera for nearly the entire running time. I don't know how much prior work they have done or even how old they are, but they really make the movie what it is. I will also say that the work done by Wuest is equally eloquent. Her job is much harder, as she is playing two separate sides of a coin. Its remarkable work how she keeps us guessing, keeps us on our toes about who her character is and what her motives are.
Its a really simple idea. Three actors, one location, and one heck of a screenplay. Movies don't have to be something bombastic, they don't need the A-list star or the top-of-the-line special effects to be something good. Movies don't have to be based on a true story in order to be seen. Movies just have to be able to capture our hearts and souls in equal measure. They have to offer a genuine experience and they have to tell a good story. Despite some minor pacing issues, I think "Goodnight Mommy" achieves all of those things.
FINAL GRADE: B+