I am not a mother. I am not qualified to speak to the joys, trials, and triumphs of motherhood. But I have seen the movie Mother’s Day, so I know all about pain, desperation, despair, and the deep abiding shame that comes from watching silently as another human being is repeatedly humiliated for the prurient pleasures of others. I know that we are alone, forsaken by any notion of a kind and forgiving god, for if there was a benevolent force guiding the universe, it surely would have sent an asteroid to destroy us before we could commit this unspeakable act to film, where it will live on, forever, revisiting its horror upon each successive generation.
Mother’s Day begins with a monologue from Jennifer Aniston about how the financial losses of Cake forced her to accept this role, and if only we had embraced her attempt at being a Serious Actor, she would not have had to do this. “You are being punished,” she says. “You will take me seriously or you will suffer my wrath.” Her wrath is this movie, and it is like being forced to spend two hours sitting next to a pile of fresh vomit—it makes you want to puke, too.
Kate Hudson then comes on screen and says, “I have a new line of athletic wear to promote, and this movie affords me the opportunity to show off my extremely athletic body in my extremely athletic wear.” When we are living in the Wastelands, I shall follow Kate Hudson, for she is ruthless and practical.
The movie follows a loose network of mothers plus one widower dad—Jason Sudeikis, looking deeply regretful—as they deal with various problems like, “My baby daddy loves me so much I don’t know what to do,” and, “My ex-husband married a woman as old as my digitally altered face looks.” Everyone lives in beautiful houses and the kids are all well-behaved, and the entire movie takes place in some mystical part of Atlanta where there are no black people, except for the obligatory Sassy Black Friend.
Julia Roberts appears in this movie with an “I will always be grateful to Garry Marshall” grimace on her face, and Timothy Olyphant shows up as the ex-husband who dares to remarry and is visibly dreaming of the Margaritaville Mixer he is going to buy with his paycheck. Atlanta is a notably warm place and everyone spends the movie sweat-stained and shiny because no one gave enough f*cks to dab between takes.
There are so many parts of Mother’s Day to despair over—that this movie even exists is one of the most depressing realities of the twenty-first century. Don’t get me started on the “adoption=abandonment issues” subplot—as an adopted kid, this made me angry—but the worst is the ham-fisted attempt at progressivism represented by an interracial couple and a lesbian couple. Hudson and Sarah Chalke play sisters involved in Modern Relationships saddled with Texan parents, which means they’re tacky racists who scoff at imported beer. Esteemed character actors Margo Martindale and Robert Pine debase themselves as the racist grandparents in scenes so humiliating they are physically painful to watch.
This conflict is resolved when Racist Grandma discovers her Indian son-in-law’s mother is also kind of racist, because everyone knows that racism neutralizes racism and just as long as everyone is racist, then no one is really racist. There is also an incident of racial profiling that ends when a police officer recognizes the Indian husband (Aasif Mandvi, you deserve so much better) as her doctor, which is a BOGO deal on racist stereotyping.
There are two climaxes, one in which Jennifer Aniston gets her arm stuck in a vending machine, and the other featuring a wedding because the nuclear family is still the end goal of every woman alive. Careers are just things sad women cling to because they don’t have families. True womanly happiness can only be attained through the spawning and raising of young.
I recommend Mother’s Day to no one, unless you happen to despise your mother and are looking for a passive-aggressive way to communicate your loathing to her. In that case, do go see Mother’s Day, as it is a soul-crushing two hours long, giving your mother plenty of time to regret bringing you into this world. But unless you are trying to drive your mother from your life as Saint Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland, I beg you to stay far, far away from this movie. I would rather push my mother down a flight of stairs than take her to see Mother’s Day.
Attached - Kate Hudson at a screening of Mother's Day today in New York.