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Based on Irish folktales and early rap lyrics from Compton based musical fun group NWA, the coming of age horror movie You Are Not My Mother has thick Irish accents and buildings being set on fire along with a random white woman dancing.
Pretty much. Except Belfast is in black and white and has Judi Dench. You Are Not My Mother is very much in color and has Trudi Dench. All that stuff with the white lady dancing and the fire stuff is pretty accurate.
Belfast and You Are Not My Mother are pretty much the same movie. If you have to see Belfast, Kenneth Branagh says stop reading this because he really wants you to see that before you do anything else with your life. I suggest you keep reading this review because it will help you decide whether or not to see You Are Not My Mother.
F*ck Kenneth Branagh. You don’t have to do what he tells you anymore. This review is for You Are Not My Mother. Kenneth Branagh is not your father.
This Is Your Synopsis
You Are Not My Mother (now just a called Mother because I don’t want to keep writing that long title every other sentence but not to be confused with the Jennifer Lawrence movie Mother! from 2017) opens somewhere in Ireland with a baby in a stroller in the middle of the street. How cute. This baby sure does look happy though you wonder what this baby is doing in the middle of the street.
But you know how babies can get when they manipulate their stroller. If there’s one thing babies love, it’s being in the middle of a road.
An older woman finds the baby. We all breathe a sigh of relief because we thought something was going to happen to the baby.
The older woman takes the baby from the middle of the street and takes it to the woods.
The woman has what looks like an ancient spell book in her hands. Complete with rune symbols and picture of the bear and maypole from Midsommar.
The woman draws a circle around the baby and then proceeds to set the circle and the baby on fire.
As I’ve stated, this movie is based on ancient Irish folklore and this part of the movie is the ancient Irish tradition of setting a baby on fire in the woods. #tradition
We meet a young woman in high school named Char Delaney (Hazel Doupe). She’s late for school. Her granny (Ingrid Craigie) can’t take her because something’s wrong with her foot. Her mother has to take her even though she’s been going through some stuff (“I’m just tired”).
Are we to assume Char is the baby from the beginning? If she is it’s kind of f*cked up her name is Char.
Anyway, Char’s mom Angela (Carolyn Bracken) is barely paying attention to the road as she almost hits a cow and a horse and Colin Farrell. Char asks her mom to buy some groceries because there isn’t any food in the house. Angela is barely paying any attention.
Angela drives into the middle of a field and just exits the car. Char has to walk the remaining x miles to school.
School is fun for Char. She has no friends. She’s bullied by the school bully Suzanne (Jordan James) and some of the other kids make fun of the burn on her face (“It’s a birth mark”). Good times.
Char is walking back from school to see the car still in the middle of the field. Her mother never returned home. The family calls the cops, but Angela has only been missing for a couple of hours so there’s nothing they can do just yet.
Later that night, Angela does come home. But Char’s noticed she’s changed, worse than before. It looks like Granny’s noticed it too.
The Delaney name is notorious around the neighborhood and people do their best to stay away from them because it’s whispered the Delaney family is cursed.
Char’s noticed a lot is different about mom and it probably has nothing to do with the title of the movie. The burn scar on her face is tingling and that means—
Nope. That’s Harry Potter. Let’s just say Char has had better Halloweens.
What Works With You Are Not My Mother
- Like 2014’s excellent It Follows, writer/director Kate Dolan slowly builds dread without the use of cheap jump scares. Those looking for a jolt every 5 minutes will be disappointed. Mother takes patience to watch, but the payoff is more than worth it.
- Hazel Doupe holds the movie together as she’s in nearly every scene and rarely if ever missteps in a performance of fragility and strength. Judging by the first act, you wouldn’t expect Char to withstand some of the things she has to go through but Doupe never makes Char less than believable. You want Char to final girl herself through the end because you like her so much.
- The scariest kitchen of 2021. Featuring some of the scariest white dance moves since I saw Fresh.
What Doesn’t Work With You Are Not My Mother
- An overly revealing title that shouldn’t have been so on-the-nose. An overly revealing poster that could have been effective without revealing too much about the ending. They both undercut the tension the movie’s trying to establish as you already know more than you should.
The best Irish coming of age horror movie based on Irish folklore of 2021. Before you soap yourself with Irish Spring, you might want to look closer as to where it came from.