The Mother of Tears Movie Review

The apocalypse is held over in Rome and, per usual, perennial schlockmeister Dario Argento is behind the entire thing. People are getting strangled by their own guts, women are taking butcher cleavers to their children, large bald men are dispatching lesbians by poking out their eyes and shoving large spears up their hoo-has. Just another day for Mr. Argento and his lascivious daughter Asia as they bring the trilogy that started with the master's classic Suspiria to a laughably berserk end. But really, how else could it have ended?

As previously mentioned, Rome has gone insane and it's all because of a dagger and three little statues dug up by a priest in some back-country cemetery. These troublesome artifacts find their way to a young art historian named Sarah (Ms. Argento) and her friend Giselle. As Sarah goes to fetch the cleaning supplies, Giselle gets her mouth split open and gets strangled by her large intestine before being consumed by three demons and their screaming pet monkey. As regular citizens begin to take to random acts of violence, Sarah is suspected of involvement by a detective (Cristian Solimeno) while she hides away with Michael (Adam James), the head curator of the museum.

As witches of all sorts descend on Rome for a big ol' pagan orgy, a good witch named Marta, a lesbian, natch, takes Sarah in and lets her in on the powers she has inherited from her mother. Sadly, mom was destroyed while battling The Three Mothers, a trio of all-powerful witches who bring plagues upon the world. The first two Mothers were dispatched in Suspiria and its semi-sequel Inferno, explained in-story by a creepy priest (Udo Kier). Sarah must now summon all her courage to... holy moly, Dario, is this really what you've been mulling while your daughter has been designating herself as the most provocative actress of the decade?

It sounds confusing but seeing it is a real humdinger. I'm all for lesbian sorceresses, child slaying, cannibalism, eye-gauging, and large-breasted demonesses who only wear crimson tunics... but where's the heart? The Mother of Tears doesn't indulge itself nearly enough to be considered camp and, one can only hope, isn't meant to be taken seriously by the audience. This leads not only to tonal confusion but a major lack of nuance that halts any attempts to engage the characters or the action.

Though it's meant to be a leave-it-all-on-the-field bender of putridity to cap off The Three Mothers Trilogy, there's just not nearly enough action and gore, and there's far too much time spent on uncovering secrets and tracking down random tidbits. And poor Asia: After quickening the pulse of Olivier Assayas' otherwise aimless Boarding Gate, she now has to suffer at the hands of a father who can't decide what he wants from his actress or his film. For gore, you've got to give the movie marks for gusto, but it doesn't garner accolades in any other category.

But this you have to wonder: If throwing your newborn off a bridge, taking a baseball bat to a car after a traffic altercation, and randomly indulging in unadulterated acts of violence are signs of Argento's apocalypse, where does that leave a culture where these acts are presented daily, a few pages before Lindsay Lohan and a stolen coat?

Aka La Terza madre.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : , , Giulia Marletta

Starring : , Valeria Cavalli, Cristian Solimeno,


The Mother of Tears Rating

" Grim "

Rating: R, 2008


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