Goodnight Mommy

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Goodnight Mommy
Goodnight Mommy.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Written by
  • Veronika Franz
  • Severin Fiala
Produced byUlrich Seidl
Starring
CinematographyMartin Gschlacht
Edited byMichael Palm
Music byOlga Neuwirth
Production
company
Distributed byStadtkino Verleih[1]
Release date
  • 30 August 2014 (2014-08-30) (Venice)
  • 8 January 2015 (2015-01-08) (Austria)
Running time
100 minutes[2]
CountryAustria
LanguageGerman
Box office$2.2 million[3]

Goodnight Mommy (German: Ich seh, Ich seh, lit.'I see, I see'; UK: Goodnight Mummy) is a 2014 Austrian psychological horror film. The film is written and directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala.[4][5][6] It was selected as the Austrian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards, but it was not nominated.[7][8]

Plot[edit]

After undergoing cosmetic facial surgery, a woman (Susanne Wuest) returns home to her modern, isolated lakeside house and to her nine-year-old twin sons, Elias and Lukas (Elias and Lukas Schwarz). Her head is swathed in bandages, with only her eyes and mouth visible. The twins are unnerved by their mother's appearance and are further taken aback when she begins to exhibit strange behavior. She pointedly ignores Lukas and appears to only acknowledge Elias in conversation. Though it is the middle of summer, the mother orders the twins to keep the blinds closed during the day, imposes a strict rule of silence inside the house, and allows them to only play outdoors. The mother also acts cruelly and lashes out at Elias physically when he is mischievous or disobedient. The boys comment that this is something their mother would never do.

The twins begin to suspect that beneath her bandages, their mother may not be the same person. These doubts are confirmed when they find an old picture that shows the mother with another unknown woman who is wearing identical clothes and shares similar physical traits. With the suspicion that the woman residing in their house is an impostor, the twins escape from the house and go to a church in a nearby town, where they try to get help from the priest. The priest drives them home, and is satisfied with the woman's explanation that she is their mother.

The boys tie the woman to the bed and refuse to let her go until she tells them where their real mother is. The woman insists that she is their mother, and the twins use a magnifying glass to burn her face to compel her to reveal where their real mother is. They then seal her mouth with tape.

Two employees of the Red Cross arrive to collect donations. Although they initially await the return of the mother, they finally leave the house after receiving a large amount of cash from Elias, which he discreetly stole from his mother's purse. Meanwhile, the woman breaks free from the adhesive tape around her mouth and yells for help, but is too late to attract the attention of the Red Cross employees. The twins seal her lips with super glue, only to realize that she is unable to eat. The twins cut open her lips with a small pair of scissors, slicing her mouth in the process.

As the woman is still bound and trapped, she wets her bed. The twins briefly set her free from her shackles to change the bedding, allowing her to subdue the boys and escape. The twins, however, have set up a booby trap that causes her to fall, knocking her unconscious. The woman wakes glued to the living room floor. Elias starts to burn down the house to pressure her into telling them the truth about their mother. The woman firmly insists that she is the twins' real mother.

The woman then tells Elias that Lukas' death wasn't his fault, meaning Lukas has been merely a hallucination as a result of dissociative identity disorder and is suffering from Capgras syndrome, incapable of accepting his other half's demise. She tearfully explains to Elias that Lukas' death was not his fault and she begs her son to set her free so they can both move on from the tragedy. Elias challenges her to prove that she is their mother by telling him what Lukas is doing. As she cannot see Elias' hallucination of Lukas threatening to set fire to a curtain, she cannot answer the question. Elias, believing that his real mother could see Lukas, lights the curtain while hallucinating that his brother helps set the fire. The woman subsequently burns to death while screaming in agony before firefighters arrive. As they attempt to put out the fire a version of the unharmed mother in a yellow dress (previously seen in a happy family photo) is seen leaving the house and walking into the woods.

The final shot of the film shows Elias and Lukas walking through the cornfield and emerging to be with their mother, the three of them smiling and embracing, singing Lukas's favorite song.

Cast[edit]

  • Susanne Wuest as Mother
  • Elias Schwarz as Elias
  • Lukas Schwarz as Lukas
  • Hans Escher as Priester
  • Elfriede Schatz as Rotkreuz Sammlerin
  • Karl Purker as Rotkreuz Sammler
  • Georg Deliovsky as Pizzalieferant
  • Christian Steindl as Mesner
  • Christian Schatz as Bauer
  • Erwin Schmalzbauer as Akkordeongott

Reception[edit]

The film generally received positive reviews from critics.[9][10] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 86%, based on 145 reviews, with a rating average of 7.35/10. The site's consensus reads: "Dark, violent, and drenched in dread, Goodnight Mommy is perfect for extreme horror enthusiasts – or filmgoers who prefer to watch between splayed fingers."[11] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 81 out of 100, based on 19 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[12]

The National Board of Review named Goodnight Mommy one of the Top 5 Foreign Language Films of 2015.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Goodnight Mommy". Box Office Mojo.
  2. ^ "GOODNIGHT MOMMY (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2016-02-22. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  3. ^ "Goodnight Mommy (2015)". The Numbers. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
  4. ^ Goodnight Mommy at IMDb
  5. ^ "Polished, nasty film Goodnight Mommy has cold, distant manner". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
  6. ^ "Is The 'Goodnight Mommy' Trailer The Scariest Of All Time?". Music Television. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
  7. ^ "Oscars: Österreich reicht "Ich seh, ich seh"". Kurier. 2015-09-02. Retrieved 2015-09-02.
  8. ^ "Austria Selects Goodnight Mommy as Oscar Bid". Film New Europe. 2015-09-08. Retrieved 2015-09-08.
  9. ^ Catsoulis, Jeannette (2015-09-10). "Review: Twin Terrors Haunt 'Goodnight Mommy'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-10-13.
  10. ^ Dowd, A.A. (2015-09-10). "Guessing the twist won't save you from the horrors of Goodnight Mommy". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2015-10-13.
  11. ^ "Goodnight Mommy". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2020-03-21.
  12. ^ "Goodnight mommy". Metacritic. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  13. ^ "National Board of Review Announced 2015 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved 2015-12-01.

External links[edit]