Side note: I wrote this review for my English Composition class (for extra credit). I thought it would be worth sharing.
Let’s start, shall we?
The Eyes of My Mother, directed and written by Nicolas Pesce, is a film that quickly grabbed my attention and kept it throughout its limited time on the screen. I had been too eager to see a movie for my first film festival and made a choice I caught myself regretting. The Eyes of My Mother was fast-paced and unsettling, all thanks to an eerie atmosphere set by the script and wonderful performances. The movie was filmed in black and white, a relief to me as soon as eyes were removed and blood splattered, and overall a quiet film, due to a lack of a soundtrack.
The film follows the short and tragic life of a young farm girl named Francisca, who loses her mother due to a young man who caused the entire audience to squirm with unease within his first two minutes of screen-time. Through Mother’s eyes, we see the man, Charlie, talking to twelve-year-old Francisca while she is playing outside in the safety of her own front yard. Charlie proves himself to be the villain after Mother comes to the scene. Charlie frightens Mother into letting him into her home, forces her to show him where their guest bathroom is at gunpoint, and to the audience’s horror, he murders Mother off screen while Francisca is forced to stay in the kitchen. Father comes home from work and enters the house. He quickly senses something is wrong and he walks toward the bathroom, where the audience hears Charlie hacking away at Mother’s body in the bathtub.
Due to Father’s actions of keeping Charlie in their abandoned barn and making Francisca help him bury Mother in the dark night behind their farm, Francisca grows up to be a troubled young woman. The movie tops itself with each scene due to increasing tension as more clueless characters find their lives ended at Francisca’s hands, who grows up to become a sexually repressed and cannibalistic serial killer. Francisca finds herself bonding with Charlie, even wooing him at one point. She goes out of her way to feed him, sew up his injuries, and surgically remove his eyes (to everyone’s dismay). I found myself regretting my snap decision to watch this film at the death of unsuspecting young Kimiko, one of Francisca’s dates.
The Eyes of My Mother was an unsettling film and made me wary of picking up hitchhikers, not knowing what is in my food, and talking to strangers. Francisca, played brilliantly by Kika Magalhaes, shows that she is surprisingly clever and resourceful throughout the film as she woos women back to her home and steals a baby from right under a young mother’s nose.
The film is worth seeing if you want a harsh reminder of how mentally ill someone around the world is and much you depend on being able to see and talk. I gave myself a pat on the back for making it through the entire film and for picking an excellent movie when the credits rolled.
What disturbing movies have you seen this year? Tell me in the comments!
Thank you for reading. See you on Thursday.