#NativeNerd movie review: ‘Ma’ is a hilarious, yet creepy take on the 'cool neighborhood mom'

A great cast, a great concept and a great director combine for a bizarre and outrageous romp through the sinister world of ‘Sue Ann’ played by Oscar nominee Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer, best known for her roles in The Shape of Water, The Help, Hidden Figures and Fruitvale Station, will, in my view, skyrocket once again into the public’s eye with her latest portrayal of a formerly rejected high school student by the name of Sue Ann.

From the producers of Get Out, The Visit and Happy Death Day emerges a demented, clever, and bumper car ride of a movie titled Ma.

I went into this film with mild expectations of what I would experience, but was wildly surprised in the best of ways. Ma was strategic in its unraveling and brilliant with its use of words and undercutting in every way. It was hilarious, mindful and yet realistic in the ways teenagers have to navigate the world of social media and social circles whether it is 2019 or 1989.

I won’t reveal any spoilers but will talk about some of the interactions between Sue Ann and the other characters. The snide and sarcastic and even vindictive interactions in this movie were wherein the brilliance lived. Sue Ann, a lonely veterinary assistant by day, and a teen-friendly ‘party-mom’ by night was absolutely hilarious in every situation she ventured into.

I thought I would be scared and perhaps disgusted about some of the weird ways she might venture into the dark side—which I absolutely was—but what I didn’t expect was that I would be laughing at the top of my lungs at every other turn in this movie.

The smart-ass one-liners were everywhere, but it wasn’t tired old overused one-liners, it was fresh, fun and super-funny. Like, 'wow, I wish I had thought of that' funny. The interactions between Sue Ann as a disgruntled vet assistant and the frustrated veterinarian Dr. Brooks played by Allison Janney, were absolutely brilliant. I want to see the movie prequel about these two before Ma was made.

As the movie starts, we meet Maggie, excellently played by actress Diana Silvers, the newbie high-schooler who arrives in the town and soon meets a group of funny teenagers who are looking for an adult that could buy them alcohol. Enter Sue Ann, who reluctantly agrees, but later eventually invites them to party in her basement.

Things go haywire, Sue Ann starts to get a ‘bit fanatical’ to say the least and we learn about her strange living situation and her dark past at the same high school Maggie and her friends attend.

Enter a gun, weird animal accessories, a hot iron, strong drugs hidden in drinks and needles, lots and lots of needles—and when I say needles, I mean both kinds, the ones that use thread, and the ones that inject—all used in disturbing ways. It’s enough to make you scream, and laugh. Over and over again.

Ma was a brilliantly orchestrated movie with more twists and turns within the confines of a script that I think I have ever seen in a long time.

I have to give a real shout to Octavia Spencer who brought so much to this movie. She has to demonstrate several sides of a human psyche in this movie and she never falters for a second. There is an almost ridiculous turn this movie makes, and it could have only have been pulled off by Spencer in my opinion. Other shouts go to the director Tate Taylor, who informed Spencer that “No you won’t die in the first 15 minutes of this movie, in fact, you are the killer.” Also an additional shout to Scotty Landes, the scriptwriter.

Ma is all fun, with a bit of “Holy cow, did that really just happen?” thrown in all over the place. This movie never stops to ask “Why?” It only continues to smash forward with a valiant, “Why not?”

Of course, Sue Ann driving at a high rate of speed and veering off the road to hit the jogger was just icing on the cake. After the big ‘clunk’ enters a well-placed Earth, Wind and Fire song.

Go see this movie, and be prepared to expect the unexpected, you still won’t know what’s coming. 

Ma hits theaters May 31 - for information visit https://www.mamovie.com/

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This movie review is written by the #NativeNerd, Vincent Schilling, Akwesasne Mohawk, and associate editor for Indian Country Today. Follow him on Twitter at @VinceSchilling and Instagram at @VinceSchilling 

Email - vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com

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