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Mother (Madeo) (2009)

tomatometer

95

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Reviews Counted: 110
Fresh: 105 | Rotten: 5

As fleshy as it is funny, Bong Joon-Ho's Mother straddles family drama, horror and comedy with a deft grasp of tone and plenty of eerie visuals.

93

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 29
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 2

As fleshy as it is funny, Bong Joon-Ho's Mother straddles family drama, horror and comedy with a deft grasp of tone and plenty of eerie visuals.

audience

88

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 14,828

My Rating

Movie Info

A woman devoted to her son struggles to keep him from spending his life in prison in this drama from director Bong Joon-ho. Do-jun (Weon Bin) is a man in his mid-twenties who isn't especially bright and is easily led. Do-jun lives with his elderly mother (Kim Hye-ja), who loves him fiercely even though she has no illusions about his abilities or his bad habits. Do-jun spends much of his spare time with Jin-tae (Jin Gu), a borderline criminal who takes advantage of Do-jun's credulous nature, much

Jul 20, 2010

$0.3M

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All Critics (110) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (105) | Rotten (5) | DVD (4)

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.

December 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bold, unpredictable and quietly devastating, Mother is Bong's first masterpiece.

August 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You've never met a mother quite like this one.

April 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

April 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Disturbing, enthralling and filled with interesting shots that reflect an artist's eye.

April 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bong is a talent to heed.

April 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hye-ja Kim gives an Oscar-worthy performance. A very good, very cool piece of cinema.

July 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinemania

'Mother' has 'American remake' written all over it.

January 3, 2011 Full Review Source: BET.com | Comments (2)
BET.com

This Korean film packs a serious punch, has a killer crossover, but sort of loses its momentum at the end.

December 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

An oddball sinister murder mystery that's much more than that.

December 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Mother is a superbly-made thriller with some scenes which will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

September 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post

A deceptively simple and humorous tale with wonderfully nasty flashes of violence that feel entirely real.

August 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4 | Comment (1)

Beautifully crafted and full of surprises Mother grows more compelling as it unfolds.

August 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

The film has visual panache, but it's the way Bong uses such a unique character to tap into the lonely, damaged nature of the private eye archetype that really makes Mother stand out.

August 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Scotsman

Another quality Bong hit.

August 20, 2010 | Comments (2)
Little White Lies

Mother is always a little larger than life -- a little richer and more strongly defined -- while never making life, real life, seem less than the full and focused object of its gaze.

August 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

If you're a fan of foreign cinema, keen to catch one of this year's best imports...Mum's the word.

August 19, 2010 Full Review Source: News of the World
News of the World

Echoing Bong's previous output, a seam of absurd and precisely paced humour adds unpredictability to the ostensibly simple story, defying genre conventions while playfully satirising the film's stereotypes.

August 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Mother is shot and edited with wonderful precision, and Bong continues to stun with his unerring ability to strike a perfect balance between the film's lighter and darker elements.

August 19, 2010 Full Review Source: The Skinny
The Skinny

Bong dredges up dread from the mousy determination of Hye-ja's Miss Marple-like detective work -- her meekness hides an astonishing fortitude...

August 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

Mother is more focused than The Host, operating as a strong genre film even though Bong skilfully undermines many of the murder mystery conventions.

August 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Autopsy
Cinema Autopsy

A superbly well-assembled film with surprises in store every step of the way.

August 10, 2010 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Bong presents his characterizations with a blend of black humor and pathos ... He also happens to write (along with co-writer Park Eun-kyo) one heck of a narrative.

July 31, 2010 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Mother's success partly owes to Bong's twisty mystery script, but the South Korean film wouldn't fly without the achingly intense performance of Kim Hye-ja. [Blu-ray]

July 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

Audience Reviews for Mother (Madeo)

Korean moms are hella paranoid and always filled with worry for their children... but this mom takes it to the SSJ-hardcore-to-the-max limit. I've been loving Korean movies recently... no, it's not cause I'm Korean. They're expertly structured, artistically vibrant, and extremely immersive. "Mother" continues to keep the Korean movie industry running smoothly. "Mother" staggers slightly due to the lack of a moral or thematic foundation and, contrary to more recent Korean films, slight pacing issues. Yet, these are just minor issues for an deftly crafted thriller with a multiple of riveting, suspenseful scenes.

All the actors play their roles superbly, the cinematography is unique, the editing has an unbelievable amount of precision, and the dialogue is simple yet smart. I'm gonna tell ya though, this is a violent movie that exudes a very eerie and disturbing tone. Haven't seen a movie like it. For a movie with a very linear plotline, "Mother" dishes in variety through unpredictability, enthralling "indie-like" scenes that add artistic value, and incredibly tense scenes. Yeah... Hollywood's missing out...

"Mother" exceeds on all levels and unlike many Korean movies, leaves viewers with something more then just a story -- it leaves an impression that won't be forgotten for a while.
March 10, 2012
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer

Slow-burning dark drama that features a fantastic performance by Hye-ja Kim in the title role.
November 26, 2011
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Expected to like this a little more than I did. Was a very long movie, and it seemed to change half way through. It starts off as being about an overprotective mother and her simple son. I liked that angle. Then the son goes to jail over a murder it seems likely he did not commit (or did he...), and suddenly this turns into a murder investigation led by the mother. It does pick up again at the end, but whether or not it was worth sticking with is debatable.
This is quite a popular films with a lot of good reviews, so it's possibly just me and the mood I was in when I watched it, but it wasn't quite what i was expecting, and I was a little underwhelmed by it, though I'll admit the acting and filming was very good here.
June 6, 2011
romy861

Super Reviewer

Finally, a movie people can watch on Mother's Day who are unsentimental about it. Antoine Doinel would love this one.
May 24, 2011
adammahler1

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Mother (DE)
  • Mother (FR)
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