Goodnight Mommy review

My mom and I watched this during the daytime, because we didn’t think we’d be able to handle it. But Goodnight Mommy (Ich seh, ich seh) isn’t scary so much as unsettling. It’s a slow, quiet film that ends with a sucker punch.

Twins, Lukas and Elias (Lukas and Elias Schwarz) move to a new home in the Austrian countryside after their mother (Susanne Wuest), a former TV personality, has cosmetic surgery on her face. But when she comes home, the boys are convinced that the woman wearing a helmet of bandages isn’t their real mother.

It’s a gradual build-up, but stick with it. It gets really freaky. My mom and I couldn’t stop talking about it yesterday. We actually rewound it a few times just to make sure we hadn’t missed anything. Because the film is so subtle, there are key moments you could miss if you’re not paying attention.

Without giving too much away, what you see on screen isn’t nearly as horrifying as what you don’t see. There’s an underlying comment on beauty, motherhood and identity. Is the mother an imposter, or is she just failing to satisfy who her sons want her to be? Goodnight Mommy poses a lot of questions that it doesn’t intend to answer.

Image credit: Ulrich Seidl Film Produktion GmbH

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