REVIEW: Motherly (2020)

dir. Craig David Wallace.

Isolating themselves in a remote farm house, mother Kate (Lora Burke) and her non-gregarious daughter Beth (Tessa Kozma) are hiding from a past that continues to haunt them. Kate struggles to cope with her daughter’s questions about why they cannot be with her dad, when in fact Kate was the key informant in her husband’s conviction of killing a neighbour’s child. After a violent home invasion by a disguised couple seeking the truth from Kate, she must decide exactly how far she will go to protect her daughter.

Director Craig David Wallace delivers a tale of one of the most basic and animalistic instincts for a mother: to safeguard her offspring, irrespective of the dire consequences. Lora Burke plays Kate with a composed outward strength, accented with subtle trembles of emotion as she tries not to break her composure. This is wholly in contrast to Kozma’s Beth: cold and withdrawn, from the very beginning the nine year old’s lack of sensitivity and emotional reaction sparks concern, as we begin to discover that perhaps Kate’s web of secrets and lies is hiding much more than what was initially suspected.

Plot-wise Motherly doesn’t break new ground, though the journey is one of high tension, leading to some moments of breath-holding suspense whilst also being flecked with grievous bodily harm and wince-inducing gore effects.

Exploring the extreme lengths that one may be forced to endure for the sake of their children, Motherly is a metaphor for motherhood itself: bloody, frantic and at times heart-breaking. 


Ygraine Hackett-Cantabrana

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