Starring: Wu Ruofu, Yan Ni, Zou Yuanqing
Director: Zhang Xiao
Running Time: 103 mins
I Am Your Mom is a Chinese film about a frustrated student who, upon finally moving out to live on her own, finds she misses and needs her mother far more than she realised.
It’s films like this that prove that the line between genuinely heartwarming and cheesy is really very fine, as I Am Your Mom pushes forward with a very genuine and positive mentality and message throughout, but falls flat with one that feels far more tacky than truly powerful, making for an ultimately disappointing and rather inconsistent watch.
The one thing that you can’t fault with this film is its relentless positivity at heart. There are a whole host of films that criticise so much about the modern world, and although this film also takes a look at the issues facing modern society, its central message – that about loving, respecting and always caring for your mother – is one that you really don’t see all that often on the big screen, which is hugely admirable.
Yes, it may sound like a very simple and obvious message to tell the audience, but given how rare it really is in modern films, combined with just how genuine and earnest the film is in preaching it, it’s just really nice to see, and that’s where this film really succeeds.
The problem comes in translating that lovely central message into a dramatic story that actually works. On the one hand, there are moments where it comes to forefront of the story in real style, with our young lead coming to terms with the fact that, while she’s growing up and becoming an independent person, the fact that she needs her mother is still a reality, and it’s those moments that are portrayed really well in this film.
However, while those few moments are undoubtedly wonderful, the rest of the film isn’t quite as genuine or heartwarming, and while the story does try to sell itself as a truly emotional piece, the rest of the film really falls flat as little more than a generic comedy, with the lack of character depth proving detrimental to the overall drama, and making for an inconsistent mix between genuine drama and rather unimpressive and underwhelming moments.
Furthermore, that lack of real character depth beyond the generic spectres of a mother and a daughter are what ultimately render this film often more cheesy than genuinely heartwarming. As I said, it has some absolutely wonderful moments, but that largely stems from the fact that the message is a nice one, rather than something that’s come from your own emotional connection with the film’s characters.
As a result, when a supposedly nice moment doesn’t quite work out, the message comes across as a little didactic and very cheesy, meaning that you’re really taken out of the moment just by how distractingly nice and sweet the central message is. Couple that with a closing theme song about how you should always listen to your mother, and you’ve got a film that’s got genuine heart, but doesn’t manage to portray it in a genuinely interesting way, which is why I’m giving I Am Your Mom a 6.6 overall.