Top positive review
One person found this helpful
A villain with maternal instincts.
on December 31, 2013
May contain spoilers!
Who says all ghosts have to kill everyone for no reason? Mama is the story of Lilly and Victoria who are raised by an entity called Mama after their father has a bad day at the office and decides his, and the rest of his family's, life is over. The uncle and his I-don't-want-no-children girlfriend, Annabelle, are left to raise Lilly and Victoria. After Annabelle is forced to take care of the girls because Uncle boyfriend has an accidental fall (thanks to Mama), she discovers her own maternal instincts and takes a liking to Victoria and Lilly. Meanwhile, the psych doctor has discovered that the girls know Mama to be a crazy mother from the 1800's who committed a partially failed suicide. I say partially failed because she was trying to kill herself and her baby by jumping off of a cliff (which remarkably resembled Pride Rock from The Lion King). They baby was snagged on a limb and only Mama made the successful suicide. So Mama died without her baby - which the nuns from the church were trying to keep her from. When crazy dad takes the girls into the woods to kill himself and them, Mama intervenes and snaps dad's neck - saving the girls.
So Mama has spent the last few years raising the girls - feeding them cherries, singing to them, taking them on midnight joy rides through the air, and protecting them (they do a good job of portraying this in the credits - very clever). But when Uncle Brother's search team finds the girls, Mama isn't happy.
So this isn't your typical "I want everyone dead - because I can" movie. Mama only wants her girls. Mama dwells with the girls at the new house unbeknownst to Annabelle. That is until the good doctor digs too deep and threatens to interfere. So Mama takes him out and decides it's time to take the girls to the only place where she can be with them without anyone interfering - "Pride Rock". Annabelle and Uncle Brother try to save them by giving Mama the remains of her dead baby from long ago. But really, which would you rather have - a sack of dried up bones? Or two living children? Victoria (the oldest) has taken a liking to Annabelle, but Lilly loves creepy Mama - seemingly because that's really all she knows. What's interesting is that Mama doesn't kill Annabelle because she supposedly promised Victoria that she wouldn't. With her last bit of strength, Annabelle clings to Victoria to stop her from going over the cliff. Mama shows some compassion and lets Annabelle keep Victoria. The movie ends with Mama going over the cliff with Lilly. They are cloaked in some dark shroud and burst into a cloud of black moths after they hit the same branch that Mama's baby was snagged on. Roll credits.
Ok - so 'Mama' has a decent hook. You get a silhouette of Mama in the first 10 minutes and the credits do a good job of portraying some needed exposition. And it's interesting to see that Mama is doing what she does best - being a protective Mama. So when Uncle Brother comes along, you can sympathize with someone taking 'her kids'.
All three acts are pretty clear. The change comes when Mama is done tolerating everyone trying to take her kids away. The climax could have been a bit more suspenseful. It seems to have more story than scary bits. Which isn't a total waste, but they really could have had Mama play more of her creepy self. You really only get a lot of Mama near the end of act 2 and 3. The acting was pretty good. How they get younger kids to do what they do is pretty amazing. The little girl who plays Lilly was great. Annabelle, Jessica Chastain, is the clear protagonist and is an identifiable character. Uncle Brother wasn't very useful - but effective.
I watched this movie twice if that says anything. I thought it had a good story - like Insidious. But if you're looking in your face scary parts - you might be better with something like Paranormal Activity.