Film Review: ‘Goodnight Mommy’ (2015)


“Goodnight Mommy” has been making its way out into theaters for over a month now. Slowly popping up in different cities, I finally had the chance to see a movie that has garnered a lot of buzz. It was well worth the wait.

Written and directed by Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz, making their feature debut, “Goodnight Mommy” is a confident outing for new filmmakers. It’s one of those films that shouldn’t be reviewed and the trailer shouldn’t be watched before going to see the movie. It’s truly something you must see to believe.

And, yet, I feel compelled to write about this movie. Maybe, it’s because three days after seeing it, I’m still processing every carefully constructed frame of Fiala and Franz’s movie. Maybe, it’s because some questions about the plot still linger in my mind and hopefully writing about it will bring some revelations about the movie. One thing is for sure – I can’t stop thinking about this movie. For a little movie from Austria, it may go unseen by the movie-going public. If just one person reads this and gives this movie a chance, I’ll have achieved what I set out to do with this review.

The story revolves around a set of twin brothers, Lukas and Elias (Lukas Schwarz and Elias Schwarz), who are waiting for their mother (Susanne Wuest) to return home. She recently had cosmetic surgery on her face and returns home covered in bandages. Lukas and Elias were eager for their mother’s return but something seems different about her when she arrives back to the house.

That’s “Goodnight Mommy”, boiled down to a simple description. The plot may seem generic and like something you have seen before but it’s Fiala and Franz’s stunning execution that make “Goodnight Mommy” so compelling. There isn’t much dialog throughout the movie and the directors skillfully build tension in each and every quiet moment. Several scenes involve Lukas and Elias just being normal boys – playing outside, collecting bugs and going on adventures – and yet there is a palpable uneasiness to these mundane activities.

I see well over a hundred movies of year, which runs the risk of becoming jaded to the content of a film. “Goodnight Mommy” is a deeply affecting movie that left me squirming in my chair, which rarely – if ever – happens. That’s how good this movie is.

‘Goodnight Mommy’ rates 8 out of 10


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