Goodnight mommy

Where I Watched It: Amazon

English Audio Description Provided By: The Media Access Group

Narrated By: Andrew Thatcher

It’s been a weird Halloween season for me. Earlier, I finally decided to see Let Me in, as I think it’s the only version of that story with audio description so blind viewers can enjoy the story. i thought, for blind viewers, it’s passable. But ultimately, Let The Right One in is my favorite foreign language feature of all time (I know, it should be Oldboy or something, but it’s not), so let Me in just felt entirely purposeless.

Then, I watched Amazon’s English Language remake of Goodnight mommy, starring Naomi Watts (who must like remaking shit because she’s also the star of The Ring and Funny Games). I can see the appeal in the story. The elevator pitch is great. Twin boys return home to their mom after she’s undergone extensive facial surgery, and her entire face is obscured. She starts acting differently, and the boys suspect she may not be who she seems.

This is a film that lives in the zone of not telling you everything you need to know. For example, it never explains why she underwent the surgery in the first place. It suggests she’s a famous actress, so perhaps this is just the worst face lift ever. Who knows. It also starts the film with the kids in the car with the dad, and he’s barely in the film. He just drops them off.

Aside from some police officers that appear later in the film, that’s basically the entire cast. There are really six people in this film. The twin boys are actually twins, and not Lindsay Lohan in parent Trapping their way through the film.

Here’s the rub. I think probably the original was directed better. I guessed the ending of the film long before. Granted, i was willing to follow the director on his journey that he wanted me to take, but I was pretty sure I knew where the road ended, and i was right. And I got that about 5-10 minutes into the film. I can’t tell you how or why, because it would spoil the experience for you, but the director here isn’t as clever as he thinks. And really, we’ve learned to look for unnatural twist endings in just about everything as it has become increasingly popular. Some films are only good because the ending is so bonkers.

This isn’t that. I think the majority will know where this is headed before we get there. I would have made different choices, but alas. This is what we got. Part of what made it so easy to guess was that we had audio description, which while it doesn’t draw attention to the choices, the fact that a lot of non verbal things happen reinforce the telegraphed ending.

Is she human? Is she the mother? Is that even the reason you are here? That’s part of the journey. You get to decide for yourself whether or not you want to take that journey. Like I said for Let Me in, if you can see, just watch the original and learn to read subtitles. If you can’t, we are beholden to the limited list of titles with audio description, and while I suspect we are getting the short end of the stick here, it’s possible you’ll find this twisty enough to pass the time.

Final Grade: C+

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