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Movie Review: “The Eyes of My Mother”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

The Eyes of My Mother

Theatrical Release: 12/2/2016

Theatrical Release: 12/2/2016


Francisca (Olivia Bond) lives in a quiet farmhouse with her mother and father. She has not been raised like most kids her age. Her parents have taught her skills that she can use around the farm, but Francisca has had little human interaction outside of her mother and father. The family lives a happy, farm lifestyle, but all of that is about to change.

When a killer, posed as a door-to-door salesman, comes across the remote farmhouse, he changes all of their lives forever. After a series of tragic events befall Francisca’s family, the now adult Francisca (Kika Magalhaes) is sent down a dark path. She develops a twisted view of love and death that has a long lasting impact on her interactions with other people. Those who end up crossing paths with Francisca will most likely wish they had not.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Francisca (+6pts)

Slow Burn (-6pts)

Kika Magalhaes (+5pts)

Francisca’s Father (-3pts)

Charlie (+3pts)

The Protagonist (-5pts)


Pro: Francisca (+6pts)

It was fascinating to see the impact that the childhood trauma had on Francisca. I was captivated to see the story of what happened to Francisca in her youth. However, I found it more compelling to see how she responded to that trauma, mentally, after so much time. This story was a slow-burn, but it was about Francisca‘s path down to the dark side (excuse the Star Wars reference; I could not help it), and it was a compelling one.

Francisca had little social interaction as a child, but she had her parents. After the trauma that her family tragically experienced, Francisca was never quite the same. Grown from being just a socially awkward, innocent girl, she now has dark fantasies of violence, sadistic torture, and even murder. The character went through an incredible arc. Francisca’s story was tragic, it was compelling, and it was violent. This was an example of a villain that got a ton of character development, which only made the character more fascinating.


Con: Slow Burn (-6pts)

I liked the character story, but I felt like the movie dragged on, especially in the beginning. I am all for a good slow burn, but the slower sections still need to be interesting. The movie was only about an hour and fifteen minutes long. It is a quick watch, but I got the impression that the filmmakers only had about 45 minutes’ worth of interesting material.

Rather than take the care, to create a longer, more interesting story, the filmmakers just stretched out what they had. This was definitely the lazy approach, and resulted in some slow, boring sections of this move. A slow burn story does not have to be eventful (otherwise it would not really be a slow burn, would it). However, these stories still need to be interesting, even in the story’s slower sections. With this story, there were a few slow, boring sections that almost led to me turning the movie off. However, there is an interesting story here, if you are able to get through these slower sections.


Pro: Kika Magalhaes (+5pts)

While Olivia Bond did a decent enough job with the childhood portion of Francisca’s story, Kika Magalhaes was incredible as the adult. You could see every bit of the character’s insanity and darkness on her face. Even in the character’s more calm moments, it was always clear that there was something twisted boiling underneath the surface.

Kika Magalhaes really made the character so much more fascinating than she could have been. She gave the character layers, made it clear that the character did not entirely understand what she was doing, because she did not know any better. Ever since she was a child, she has known murder, violence, and pain. The actress in the role played this character's horrific actions with an almost innocence, while also showing that Francisca was enjoying what she was doing. The movie had its flaws, but Francisca was the best thing about this movie, and Kika Magalhaes was a huge contributing factor in making her a compelling character to watch.


Pro: Francisca’s Father (-3pts)

I will keep this really brief because I do not want to spoil anything. That being said, it was really unclear as to what happened to Francisca’s father. Given the film’s short runtime, and given the fact that the filmmakers had to stretch it out to reach that short runtime, I am a little confused as to why the filmmakers did not give more focus to what happened to Francisca’s father. The filmmakers treated it as a sort of passing thought, when it could have added a lot to Francisca’s story arc. Not giving it almost any focus just felt like a missed opportunity.


Pro: Charlie (+3pts)

This character was so interesting, because in any other story, he would have been the clear antagonist. In this story, however, he gets himself into a really bad situation. I really do not want to give this away, but this movie makes you sympathize with this character. The filmmakers did this so effectively that I had to keep having to remind myself who this character was, as well as what he has done.

Charlie, played by Will Brill, was not a good man. He was a terrible person, who deserved every bad thing that could potentially come his way. Francisca, however, is absolutely twisted and demented. What happened to Charlie was just as horrific as, if not more horrific than, what he himself had done to others. That is not to say he did not deserve it, but the filmmakers did a really good job of playing with the audience's opinion of this character. You want to hate him, but you just keep feeling bad for him.


Con: The Protagonist (-5pts)

One thing that this story was missing was a protagonist that the audience could get behind. Francisca was the protagonist, in the most strict definition of the word, as she was the main character. However, Francisca was not relatable, because of the terrible things she was doing. This story needed a "good guy" or "good gal."

The gender of this hypothetical character obviously would not matter, but the audience needed a relatable character to root for. It could have been as simple as giving more development to one of the innocent characters that already crossed paths with Francisca in this movie. It could have also been a new character all together, but by not having a single, constant character to root for, the movie felt like it was missing something. It was like you were just a fly on the wall, watching these terrible events. Whereas a "good" protagonist, would have helped pull you into the story, rather than just give you the feeling that you were objectively viewing a series of events.

Grading Scale






























Grade: C+ (75pts)

The Eyes of My Mother was a strong character story about a young woman who experienced a tragic event when she was a young girl. Now she has grown into a twisted, deranged young women with a thirst for violence. It was really fascinating to see this character story play out, and Kika Magalhaes was captivating in the lead role. Unfortunately, the filmmakers struggled a bit in bringing this story to the screen.

Francisca's story was a slow burn, and slow burn stories like this one can be really good, but the filmmakers did not bring enough interesting material to the story's slower sections. The movie is only a little over an hour, but they had enough interesting material for only about 45 minutes. Rather than give focus to more interesting parts of this story (such as the fate of Francisca's father), the filmmakers decided to stretch out the story that they did have, which made for a number of slow, boring scenes. Additionally, the film was missing a primary protagonist for the viewer to relate to (as Francisca was not exactly relatable). This meant that the viewer felt more like a fly on the wall, rather than feeling like part of the story. The movie had potential, as the character story was a very interesting one, but the filmmakers struggled to properly bring this story to the screen. It was definitely not "bad", as it had a really interesting character story and a lead actress that delivered a compelling performance, but the movie could have been a lot better than it was.