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REVIEW: "The Good Mother" Wasn’t All That Good

By Lexie Zanghi | September 18, 2023

“The Good Mother,” written and directed by Albany born Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, was filmed entirely in Albany. The film featured Hilary Swank from “Million Dollar Baby,” Olivia Cooke from “House of The Dragon,” and Jack Reynor from “Midsommar.” Despite having a star studded cast, the movie fell completely flat.

As the movie begins, you immediately know that it’s filmed in Albany. Every other establishing shot was drone footage of downtown. If you took a shot every time Empire State Plaza was shown in this 90 minute film, you would be hammered at the end. It was overdone.

Hilary Swank’s character, Marissa, is a writer for the Times Union. She is dealing with the death of her drug addict son, who was shot in Arbor Hill. At the funeral, she is connected with her son’s baby mama, who is pregnant. The two of them try to figure out who killed her son and her boyfriend together.

I don’t think there was enough character and plot development for me to feel any type of way about the characters or the story. It was all very dull. You also can easily guess where this story is going within the first 20 minutes. The whole thing felt very underdeveloped and rushed. The “reveal” of the killer and the reasoning was so disappointing.

As disappointing as it all was, there was potential for a great story. I think if there were maybe some flashback scenes of the mom and her dead son, and the girlfriend and the son, it would’ve been better.

I don’t think any of the actors really did an amazing job, but I think that is because they were given a lackluster script. It’s a shame they spent a large sum of money on getting big budget actors, and it didn’t work out well for them.

Some parts of the movie were honestly laughable. As an Albany resident, the amount of Albany shots became funny, it was too forced. Also, one scene dealing with a baby was painfully bad, if you see it you will understand. Let’s just say it deals with a birth scene and a doll used to play the fake baby, and it looked way too fake. They definitely should’ve redone the shot.

Although I have many complaints, there were some minimal good parts. I really enjoyed the music and thought it fit well with the theme and moods of the scenes. One particular scene took place in a creepy basement and the music made me feel super uneasy and anxious during the scene. I thought that scene was all around well done and definitely the best of the film.

The script felt undercooked, and needed a lot more detail and care. I do recommend you watch it, just to see all of the references of Albany and to support an Albany-born filmmaker. I really wished I had liked this, but I just couldn’t.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

Would I watch it again? Maybe, but just because it’s in Albany.


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