Director(s): Severin Fiala, Veronica Franz
Starring: Lukas Schwarz, Elias Schwarz, Susanne Wuest
Goodnight Mommy has been on my radar fro quite some time. Enthralled by the trailer, I went so far as to post it on the site. Now out for rental and streaming, I finally sat down and experience the film for myself. Be advised. It’s a rough one (Like, sit in "silence for a moment after" rough).
Goodnight Mommy is a German/Austrian thriller revolving around precocious twin boys Lukas and Elias who live with their Mutter (Mother in German. You learned something new today.), a television hostess who has just returned to their isolated country home after getting plastic surgery. With her face wrapped in bandages and her demeanor a bit out of sorts, the boy begin to questing whether the woman in their home is actually their mother.
Already an innovative concept, Goodnight Mommy takes it’s time with with the story, allowing for questions and character plots to linger and build. Being known for spoiling a few plots through spotting early clues, I had an inkling of where this was headed. But even with my gut instincts at play, other theories were conjured as the film crescendos on. I won’t tell you if I was right or wrong, but I will say I was completely satisfied with the panic inducing finale.
Most of the film revolves around with the twins. Played with a balanced of childlike innocence and unnerving coldness, the young actors do well to build suspicion while maintaining a sympathetic rapport with the audience. Mutter, however, is kept shrouded, only unveiling snippets of her plot line to further add to the anxiety stew being slow simmered to a boil.
Now for the part which divides movie goers everywhere. Yes, the film is SUBTITLED (It’s alright. Just breathe.). Please, don’t let this become an excuse to not watch a film. If anything, look at it as a way to not watch a Hollywood cookie cutter movie where you know the ending before the title card.
A big time recommend, Goodnight Mommy has all the earmarks of a great thriller. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if there isn’t an American remake in the works at the moment, but given their track record for excellence it would be a dubious effort at best. Not without minor problems itself, this is a solid nail biter which takes some time to get out of your mind. But be your own critic and watch Goodnight Mommy. I’m going to go turn some light on. Enjoy!