Mammoth (Mammut)

2009

Mammoth (Mammut)

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

45%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 42

63%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,002
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Mammoth (Mammut) Photos

Movie Info

Three years after his "experimental" phase wrapped with the jarring, iconoclastic Container, Swedish enfant terrible Lukas Moodysson returned for this sprawling, ambitious social drama. Echoing Alejandro González Iñárritu's Babel and featuring two Hollywood A-listers as his leads, Mammoth also marked the director's premier English-language project. Michelle Williams and Gael García Bernal co-star as Ellen and Leo, New York marrieds; she's an emergency-room surgeon, he's a listless, vaguely dissatisfied Internet game designer. They have a family, albeit an unconventional and dysfunctional one: seven-year-old daughter Jackie (Sophie Nyweide) is practically being raised by a 24/7 Filipino caregiver, Gloria (Marife Necesito), who dotes on her incessantly. This provokes the envy of Ellen and the resentment of Gloria's two geographically estranged sons, Manuel (Martin Delos Santos) and Salvador (Jan Nicdao), who repeatedly phone their mom from Manila and plead with her to come home. Gloria's mother grows so distressed by this behavior that she attempts to show Salvador just how easy his life is in comparison to that of others, which leads to unanticipated tragic consequences. Meanwhile, Leo teams up with a shifty associate, Bob (Tom McCarthy), flies to Thailand, and encounters a freewheeling, laid-back working mother named Cookie (Run Srinikornchot). Step by step, the actions that Leo takes while abroad create a domino effect and alter everyone's lives in irreversible ways.

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Critic Reviews for Mammoth (Mammut)

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (23)

  • This is the Mike Leigh paradis terrestre, as good as it gets.

    Nov 11, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Mammoth is a masterclass in feel-bad cinema.

    Nov 4, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • [A] fatuous, self-serving and fantastically dishonest exercise in pseudo-compassion, composed in the supercilious "globalised" style of Alejandro González Iñarritu's 2006 film Babel.

    Nov 4, 2010 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • An interesting idea, but Mammoth's good intentions -- like its characters' -- are lost somewhere in the delivery.

    Nov 3, 2010 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Cath Clarke

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Too many films exploit the perils faced by children when the social contract is ruptured, but Mammoth earns its cruel, sensationalistic turns and then some.

    Nov 23, 2009 | Full Review…
  • The overlapping stories, the emotional disconnect, the heavy-handed symbolism -- no, it's not a movie from the makers of Babel, its a mumbling, stammering copycat drama from Swedish director Lukas Moodysson.

    Nov 20, 2009 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Mammoth (Mammut)

  • Sep 16, 2011
    Fragmented, but coherent, Mammoth comparatively narrates domestic drama in different social-cultural settings. Heaving with stereotypes, Mammoth concluded in accomplishment of imparting a definite set of emotions with the audiences.
    Jan Marc M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 23, 2010
    The film is gritty, with all the characters interrelated, yet somehow all unrelated. A thought provoking film from Lukas Moodysson in his first English piece as writer and director.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer
  • Mar 04, 2010
    Written and directed by Lukas Moodysson, "Mammoth" is a melancholic indie feature showing how both those who have money and those who don't can be equally unhappy. On a deeper level, it's also about how parents - mainly out of necessity but sometimes out of cruelty - often fail to provide their children with the care and nurturing they need to feel protected and loved. Leo (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Ellen (Michelle Williams) are a young married couple with a seven-year-old daughter (Sophie Nyweide) who live in a fancy loft in Soho. Though a self-described "hippie" in his younger days, Leo has recently made it to the "big time" by turning his nerdish obsession with internet video games into a multimillion dollar enterprise. But Leo can't quite adjust to being a part of the privileged classes, and he yearns for a simpler life focused on his family, something that seems to be becoming ever more difficult to achieve with his busy schedule. Ellen works nights as an emergency room surgeon, which prevents her from spending the kind of quality time she would like with her daughter, Jackie, who, in turn, is becoming ever more attached to Gloria (Marife Necesito), her Filipina nanny. Gloria, meanwhile, is heartbroken at the fact that she's had to leave her two little boys back in the Philippines to basically fend for themselves, while she earns enough money to build the house they will all one day live in. Leo and Ellen are united in their desire to do good in the world - Ellen, by patching up broken bodies and shattered lives, and Leo, by spreading his new-found wealth around to those in need. In a way, they're finding their own means of helping to bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots in this world. But at what cost to their family unit? The movie draws a distinct contrast between life in Manhattan and life in the Philippines, where Gloria's children live with the everlasting threat of poverty hanging over their heads, and Thailand, where Leo goes on a business trip and where his attraction to a beautiful native girl may ultimately prove too powerful to resist. Though at times it may seem meandering and insufficiently developed in terms of its storytelling, "Mammoth" finds its own strength in concentrating on those little moments of truth that form the essence of real life. And even though there is a surfeit of musical-montage sequences running throughout the film, it is partly counteracted by a subtle, spare and haunting musical score that nicely accentuates the lyrical nature of the piece. The last half hour, in particular, becomes a poetic and powerful account of people learning to prioritize their own lives in such a way as to be of the greatest value to both themselves and those around them. Leo and Ellen are a successful New York couple, totally immersed in their work. Leo is the creator of a booming website, and has stumbled into a world of money and big decisions. Ellen is a dedicated emergency surgeon who devotes her long shifts to saving lives. Their eight-year-old daughter Jackie (Sophie Nyweide) spends most of her time with her Filipino nanny Gloria; even when Ellen has time for her, Jackie often prefers to be with Gloria. Gloria has two children of her own, young boys staying in the Philippines with their grandmother. The older boy tries to find a job so that Gloria does not have to work abroad, but he gets hurt. Gloria is informed and quits her job right away to return to her country. Leo travels to Thailand to sign a contract, but in Thailand it turns out that his colleague has to negotiate additionally. In the meantime Leo is bored. There are attractive women offering themselves to him, but at first he does not want sex, and even pays a prostitute for not having sex with any client one evening. Later he has sex with a local women after all, but he regrets it afterwards, and has his colleague accept the terms offered, so that they can finish the work and return to the US. While on a trip to Thailand, a successful American businessman tries to radically change his life. Back in New York, his wife and daughter find their relationship with their live-in Filipino maid changing around them. At the same time, in the Philippines, the maid's family struggles to deal with her absence.
    Sergio E Super Reviewer
  • Feb 13, 2010
    Mammoth was the story of a rich New Yorker couple and their daughter and their nanny and her family. The one thing the woman, the man, and the nanny all have in common were the sacrifices they made for their kids. The couple, both had very successful jobs, and the nanny worked in the US to earn money for her kids in the Philippines. Each of the actors were superb, Gael García Bernal was simple marvelous in his role as Leo and Michelle Williams portrait a successful surgeon who was very sentimental active in her job. The story sounded a bit like in the style of Babel and Crash,but this movie was in some ways a more intimate version of that kind of storytelling.
    Daisy M Super Reviewer

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