Jessica Chastain is nominated for an Oscar for her role in Zero Dark Thirty. While her chances of winning the Best Actress award is slim, her movie Mama will not increase her chances of getting it. Studios use January and February as dumping ground for bad movies featuring awards nominees. One such example is 2007’s Norbit, the Eddie Murphy starrer that coincided with his nomination for Dreamgirls. Some felt that the ads featuring Murphy in a fat suit and drag cost him votes and the Oscar award.
There is nothing embarrassing in Mama for Chastain but the movie is generic that it will let voters know that she is still taking paycheck roles. The movie is about two sisters, Victoria and Lilly. Their father takes them to an abandoned cabin to kill them but is stopped by a supernatural creature. Five years later, the girls are rescued from the cabin and placed in the custody of their Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend Annabel (Chastain).
9 year old Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and 5 year old Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse) are super cute. Victoria manages to retain little knowledge of the outside world but Lilly is leaving the only life she’s known. The girls survive for five years without adult supervision by a supernatural being known as Mama.
Their uncle Lucas wants to raise the girls but Annabel is not sure that she can do it. They don’t have the means to raise a family and Annabel is not ready yet for the responsibility. Annabel is a guitarist with lots of tattoos and being responsible for little girls is the last thing on her mind.
Mama is a dull horror movie. It doesn’t bring anything new to the genre. Its box office success is due mainly to the star power of Jessica Chastain.