Mother 2009

Critics score:
95 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: It is Hye-ja Kim that carries Mother, making her mother of a Mother an all-suffering, all-enduring victim who acquires more spine and subtler shadings as the story deliberately, patiently reveals its secrets. Read more

Michael Phillips, At the Movies: It is a crazy mixture of genres and very stimulating. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: You've never met a mother quite like this one. Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: Though richly and believably drawn, Mr. Bong's characters are often opaque and mysterious, given to sudden rages, behavioral blurts and hiccups of weird humor. But it's this very mystery that can make them feel terribly real. Read more

Keith Uhlich, Time Out: Bong is so concerned with whodunit that his creaky genre mechanics diminish Kim's determined performance: She's often shunted to the side of the action... Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: This is filmmaking of a high order. Read more

Noel Murray, AV Club: Mother considers the various ways children are shaped by their acquaintances -- who may not have their best interests at heart -- as well as by family members who mean well, but still make mistakes. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: You never know where Mother is going to go next. All you know is that you're in the hands of a master with an appreciably bent sense of humor. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: Bong's opening and climactic scenes, in which the old woman bops around to a dance tune amid a vast field of yellow grass, are typical of the movie's cockeyed poetry. Read more

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle: An alluring piece of work, an artful whodunit that melds shrewd plotting with resourceful camera work and sympathetic characters that are fascinatingly, morbidly off. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Nothing in this movie plays out the way you expect it to. Bong's style is comically tart even in the film's most noirish moments. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Bong is a talent to heed. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: Disturbing, enthralling and filled with interesting shots that reflect an artist's eye. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: Another must-see marvel of horror, comedy, and impeccable filmmaking by the Korean director Bong Joon-ho... Read more

Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times: At its heart, it is a probing of mother love carried to extremes in various and unexpected ways; Bong, as nervy as Quentin Tarantino, evokes the profundity of Sophocles only to compound one bleakly comic irony upon another. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: The fact that Mother keeps its balance is a tribute to the leading actress... Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Though diligently paced and sharp to look at, the mysteries inside Mother are, finally, bloodless. Read more

V.A. Musetto, New York Post: Bong realizes the treasure he has in Kim and allows the camera to fixate on her -- in wide shots of glowing fields and in unforgiving close-ups. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: There are twists aplenty and if some of the deductions arrive too easily as a result of contrived clues and convenient witness testimony, those credulity hurdles are easily vaulted in the name of a good story. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The film is labyrinthine and deceptive, and not in a way we anticipate. It becomes a pleasure for the mind. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, A slippery, marvelously crafted drama that suggests the psychological thrillers of Hitchcock or Henri-Georges Clouzot transposed to present-day Korea. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: Bong's ability to sustain three or four different tones in one movie without betraying the emotional truth of the story is nothing short of amazing: He can pat his head, rub his stomach, and break our hearts all at the same time. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: It's deliriously creepy. Read more

Tom Huddleston, Time Out: Bold, unpredictable and quietly devastating, Mother is Bong's first masterpiece. Read more

Derek Elley, Variety: Less visionary than Bong's 2003 serial-killer mystery, "Memories of Murder," but with the same skillfully natural evocation of a rural community hiding dark secrets. Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: [A] subtle, yet no less visceral, horror-comedy, fully worthy of its primal title. Read more

Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post: As with director Bong Joon-ho's previous film The Host, Mother also is a movie about a monster. Only this one wears an apron. Read more