MOTHER

MOTHER ★★★

“Mother” attempts to demonstrate the societal struggles of the impoverished and the people they face through their hurdles in life. However, it constantly feels like it’s chasing the success and themes of Koreeda Hirokazu’s “Shoplifters.” Unlike Koreeda’s masterful work, “Mother” has neither the subtly nor the poignancy to be as impactful. Nagasawa Masami and Okudaira Daiken, whom the story completely depends on, give very strong performances, but it’s unfortunately surrounded by repetitive conflicts, misbalanced melancholy, and a runtime that stretches on for too long. Their characters are appropriately despicable, but they never seem to evolve very far from when we first see them. This heavy film has gripping moments and decent things to say, but it unfortunately doesn’t live up to what it could have been.