Skylar’s review published on Letterboxd:
“It ain’t much, but it’s all you”
I missed Ma earlier this year because I guess I was just busy or just didn’t get to it when it was theaters, and now I kind of wish I’d seen it in theaters. It has a few scenes that seemed like funny parts to hear a theater audience react to, so I wish I had that experience with this film.
It stars Octavia Spencer as Ma who is feeling pretty lonely and she helps out a group of teenagers by lending them her basement for parties and such, and she’s easily the best part of the movie. It’s great that she gets a large amount of screen time and some surprisingly compelling character development. It’s more than what you see in the trailer, and I like the marketing’s choice to obscure certain details about her because it makes her relatable at one level. But when she begins to do bad things, you kind of understand why she did those things, but you don’t sympathize with her at those parts.
I thought the supporting cast was good at what they had to do for the movie because they were able to play the particular types of roles and stereotypes assigned to them. They may not be giving great performances, but I thought they were good enough such as the mean girl and the boyfriend character. I don’t want to single out any actors, and it’s probably not his fault, but the black guy felt more like a token character and—for one scene—a punchline to a joke, he didn’t give a bad performance as well.
The main family, a daughter and a mother, were a good pairing and both actresses gave okay performances, yet it didn’t feel fresh or new because they didn’t bring anything original to their relationship. Their relationship didn’t fall completely flat as I felt they had their moments together, and it works really well in one scene in particular that I believe was in the trailer.
The first two acts also felt like nothing special, but thanks to the good cast and Octavia Spencer carrying the movie as if it were a box of booze, I found them okay actually. If the third act disappointed for this movie, then I would’ve rated it lower. But when a particular event happens involving a douche character named Mercedes, my fears of a bad third act went away.