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The Eyes of My Mother
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The Eyes of My Mother More at IMDbPro »

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38 out of 60 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding!

9/10
Author: starrluna
20 May 2016

I saw this at the Phoenix Film Festival and this is tied, with Under the Shadow, as my favourite horror film from the Festival. (I did indeed see them all.) I'm rating this one higher, though, because if I had to nitpick, the other movie's ending wasn't perfect, and this one nailed everything.

Kika Magalhaes attended the screening and did a Q&A where she discussed her influences on her performance. One was clear while watching it - Audition. Her character, Francesca, behaves, in some instances, very similarly to Asami. If this alone doesn't get you excited to see the film, you're probably not a horror fan.

I love the choice of black and white for the film. It dulls the gore without lessening the impact of the violence. This makes it easier for the squeamish, but in no way detracts from the horror on the screen.

And make no mistake, this movie is horrifying - in the best possible ways. Expertly acted, and directed. The cinematography was outstanding. Overall, best horror I've seen in a long time.

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15 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful art-house horror

8/10
Author: whiskyjar from Canada
27 November 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Based on the screening at CIFF.

The film opens with a lone figure, a chain dragging from her ankle, staggering down a desolate country road. A truck appears; the driver tries to warn the figure off the road, but she collapses...

So begins the equivalent of a lyrical tone-poem of a film. The plot revolves around the life of a woman who witnessed the brutal murder of her mother as a child, and the subsequent events, combined with her near total isolation throughout her entire life, leave her with a desperate need to be loved by someone, anyone, in any way, without any regard for the potentially devastating effects her actions might have on those unlucky enough to cross her path...

Shot entirely in black-and-white, this movie is a beauty to behold from start to finish. A series of vignettes unfold the protagonist's journey from an innocent child to a grown woman who has committed atrocities for the sake of love, and it is a testament to the strength of the storytelling that the film maintains sympathy for the protagonist even as it demonstrates the lengths to which she will go to achieve her ill-defined goals.

Fair warning: while there is relatively little gore, some viewers may find the themes in this film disturbing and potentially triggering. If this doesn't describe you, and you aren't afraid of a little art-house in your horror, this film is well worth checking out.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A horror masterpiece

10/10
Author: jtindahouse from Nelson, New Zealand
6 January 2017

It defies belief that some film makers can make dozens of films throughout their career, garnering experience the entire time, and never make a film half as good as 'The Eyes of My Mother', and then someone can come along on their very first attempt and achieve this masterpiece. Nicolas Pesce on writing/directing debut shows true class and masterful control of his story. Every scene is beautifully laid out and haunting in its own way. This is the work of a master, not a novice.

One of the things I liked most about this movie was that it never insults its viewer. A lot of the story was left up to interpretation. We are given small hints towards things in the dialogue here and there, but must make our own decisions on what the truth actually is.

The first two-thirds of the film were so strong that I was almost expecting to be let down by the final third. It seems today that films struggle to be consistently good throughout and usually end up mucking up at least one portion of their story. Instead 'The Eyes of My Mother' makes the final third its strongest of the lot.

Modern horror tends to rely incredibly heavily on jump scares. In fact it's all a lot of them have going for them. There is not a single jump scare in this film and yet it is infinitely more scary and memorable than 99% of horror films released today. This is a movie that will stick with me for a while and one that I will probably watch again. Do not miss this film.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A slow burn into hysteria.

7/10
Author: subxerogravity from United States
13 December 2016

It was a wicked horror tale that was worth watching. The movie starts with the shot that let's you know it's going to be a black and white film, totally setting the tone.

The film is about a girl name Francesca who lives a very isolated life on a farm with her mom and dad. Her mom was teaching her life lessons like how to surgically remove eyeballs from the cows. Then one day Francesca loses her mom to a violent crime and her father shortly after. This is when we learn what it's like for a little girl to become a woman literally all by herself.

Francesca experience some pretty violent acts as a child that were treated like every day life and with no one to teach her otherwise, she grows up with little to no filter on the value of human life, except for that one raw emotion she has not to be alone, but one that she has not learned how deal with like the rest of us.

This was like watching the slow development of like Micheal Myers or Jason Voorhees. It's really a stroke of good fortune nobody opened a camp in the near by area.

It's a very quiet story of horror, so quiet it does not really register as one, it also has elements of torture porn, which, like the horror is very quiet, but it only makes the actions of Francesca more disturbing to watch as she tries and fails to figure out how to make friends and start a new family, which produces deadly results.

An amazing work of art that I would recommend for horror fans.

http://cinemagardens.com

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13 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

A Lot of Hype, Fairly Fulfilling

4/10
Author: bajmba from United States
3 December 2016

The horror movie websites have been hyping this movie.

The previews indicated this movie won awards.

Even the reviews here on this website made it seem as if it was going to be the horror movie of the year.

There is a very good idea here.

For us, the movie didn't go far enough with the ideas.

It was strong in places but didn't go all out as to the horror element.

The ending was abrupt. It didn't flow well at that point. I felt as if they ran out of ideas or didn't know how to end the movie.

Overall, it was a cut above many recent releases.

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Excruciating

5/10
Author: cjs6547
9 January 2017

This is not a brilliant movie. In my opinion, it's not even a good movie. But it achieves what it supposedly set out to do, and that was to portray life from the point of view of a lonely psychopath. And that portrayal is absolutely excruciating.

Having grown up on an isolated farm, loneliness is always Fransisca's first and foremost problem, and we the audience are made to feel that in agonizing detail. The movie feels slow, the few other characters have short screen time and are usually mute, and the movie is in drab black and white.

Being a psychopath, Fransisca feels absolutely nothing for anybody else, and has no qualms about what she does to others to fulfill her own desires. Once again, we the audience, are made to suffer 72 minutes of this abominable character, and wonder if she is so loathed does she have any sense of self-loathing too?

Does Fransisca represent a psychopath? Probably. Is the role played well by the lead actress? Yes. Is the movie worth watching? I would say NO, not unless you have to reference it for a term paper in Psychology 101 or something.

P.S. what is up with the title of this film? It has no bearing on the movie, believe me. Just because she misses Mom the most, and her Mom was an eye surgeon, doesn't mean you have to force 'Mother' and 'Eyes' in the title.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Here's Looking at You, Kid

8/10
Author: thesar-2 from United States
3 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Much like the lack of color, it's the lack of what you'll see that lets your imagination make this one of the most gruesome projects in cinema history.

A movie critic friend of my raved about this on his weekly podcast (the best podcast out there, that is: Fat Guys at the Movies. Not being biased, it really is the best for movie news, reviews, opinions, etc. I digress…) and it reminded me a lot of a favorite film of mine: Frailty. He described the movie as the anti-shock, shockingly disgusting but not for shock's sake, to sum up anyways. Frailty is pretty much the same for me.

Frailty deals with a "serial killer" who uses an axe on his "victims" in a horrific, albeit off-screen way. I dug that technique as horror fans, such as me, have seen truly grotesque films and sometimes…it gets tiring. And in the way of story, acting, originality, etc. So, both Frailty and The Eyes of My Mother are both refreshing views in horror.

But, that's where the similarities end. Where Frailty is a fairly straightforward thriller, so to speak, The Eyes of My Mother is a bizarre, yet incredibly original story of the journey of a psychopath.

In what begins in The Village world, a fairly isolated couple and their young daughter immediately show signs these people are not right. After the brutal murder of the mother, the movie simultaneously stays in reality and down the rabbit hole as the kid grows…worse and worse.

I feel like I've gone too far into "spoiler" territory, but believe me when I tell you: A) that's just the first 5 or less minutes and B) I gave away the very thinnest of synopsizes. It's up to you, pending how strong your stomach is and your mind open, to carry on watching one of the most unique horror movies, let alone any genre, humankind has seen.

Oh, and it's also a silent killer. For only being 76 minutes, it a very deliberately paced thriller. As brutal as it is, it's not in-your-face as previous surreal, gorefests show, like similarly black & white: The Human Centipede II. Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention: It's black & white. I only hinted above. Got a good idea why they did that. Several, in fact, but it's still a very nicely shot film despite the lack of color that might have shown more beautiful backdrops.

There were a few scenes I found hard to believe, but for the most part, it's scary how true this could be. It can be predictable at times and then WHOA in other scenes.

And as upsetting as it was in moments, I truly admired this weird little film and it's no-holds-barred, exclusive vision. A definite recommendation to both horror fans and true movie lovers.

***

Final thoughts: Funny, this girl – the main star of The Eyes of My Mother, reminded me so much of Angela in Sleepaway Camp. Though the films couldn't be further apart in horror subgenres and I was only initially reminded of Angela for their close looks, I might be more onto something than just the physical attributes.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The Eyes of My Mother

8/10
Author: quinimdb from United States
31 December 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Within the first few scenes of "The Eyes of My Mother", we are confronted with one of the most disturbing and terrifying scenes in years. A young woman who works with her mother and father on a farm sits as her mother is brutally murdered in the room next to her, not moving or reacting, only to have her father come home and kill that man. What truly makes this scene as disturbing as it is, is how distant and detached the cinematography and editing make these scenes feel. There is no music in these scenes, and the murder isn't shown extensively, but rather briefly glimpsed at, before cutting to Francisca, the young girl, scrubbing her mother's blood off the floor.

The film is essentially a character study of this young girl, told in a structure that is strangely similar to this year's "Moonlight" (although an entirely different type of film). The first part covers her as a young girl after her mother's murder and her father's enslavement of her murderer, which slowly turns into Francisca's enslavement of her murderer. Her mother was an eye surgeon, and would often dissect cows with Francisca, making her far too comfortable with gore, which is only perpetuated by her murder and then the enslavement of her murderer. She begins to essentially use him as an animal, and pretty much turns him into an animal, depriving him of his sight and voice without flinching. She is completely isolated except for with her father. That changes when he dies, sending her into a descent further into madness.

The film is incredibly disturbing, possibly one of the most disturbing I have ever seen, and this is largely due to how the cinematography and editing almost mirrors the main character's point of view. There are many long, static shots without music, viewing horrible acts as flatly and coldly as the main character does. On top of this, the film often doesn't focus particularly on the murders, cutting to after it has taken places. This gives a sense that this horrible act is simply trivial for this main character. The stark black and white aids this sense of detachment.

The exploration of this character throughout the film is disturbing and hard to watch, but incredibly well realized and well written, with just enough subtlety and ambiguity in the character to give her depth. The film is painfully realistic and doesn't shy away from the psychological horrors of trauma, isolation, and helplessness.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Simply awful.

1/10
Author: Edi Etinski from Serbia
4 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Awful. Simply awful; not good as in horror, but.... I don't even know is there a term that would perfectly describe this movie. You can retell movie in less than half of a minute. One day mother talks with her daughter about anatomy. Stranger comes into house, kills mother, daughter treats wounds that her dad gave to him. Father dies, girl's lonely and she gets lesbian friend that she kills. One day she meets mother of a child and kidnaps the baby, mother is being tortured and put in the barn. Kid founds out, lets his mother, police founds out and she dead. No story development, usage of retardation is over the top-FILM NOIR? More like film disappoint me. The End. ABSOLUTE disappointment. Would not recommend

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Polished gem, couple of flaws

8/10
Author: begob from The Undertow
17 December 2016

A girl advances through her lonely, sociopathic life, using the surgical skills imparted by her mother to slice up the lives of others.

Lots of quality to this. The photography (including sets and locations), sound and editing are excellent, and the music swings between subtle synth to powerful Portuguese torch-singing (fado, I guess). All in black and white, and with understated gore that reins it in just shy of a slasher but with enough weirdness to make it a horror. And I can't recall a movie that includes a "ghost" with jangling chains. People have made various comparisons - mine is to Incision, another tale of female surgical insanity. And the sleazier American Mary.

The mix of English and sub-titled Portuguese is nicely done. Performances are convincing, although there is one underdeveloped scene where the dialogue is Q&A - opportunity missed to inject some menacing flamboyance. It circles round to the opening scene in a short run time, but the editing is well judged and it could have run twenty minutes longer in less skilled hands. Maybe one other flaw is that the mystery of the girl's condition is not resolved in the final confrontation - what did she really do when her mother met her fate?

Overall: Excellent production of a good concept.

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