Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 19
  2. Negative: 7 out of 19
  1. Ma Mere, with its sun-drenched sense of dread and band of reckless, unlikable characters, isn't very good, but that doesn't stop the actors -- especially the intrepid Huppert -- from going all the way.
  2. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Isn't for the kiddies. It probably isn't for anyone not interested in the darkest corners of the human psyche.
  3. Based on a novel by French provocateur Georges Bataille, an important thinker whose fiction rarely translates into good cinema.
  4. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    For all its shocking content, it remains a rather conventional psychological portrait of Oedipal attraction taken to a disturbing extreme.
  5. 50
    It's pretentious highbrow trash, but as far as that goes it works pretty well.
  6. 50
    Can't transcend its own suffocating milieu.
  7. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Director Christophe Honore's respectable, tightly coiled, but ultimately unrewarding adaptation of Georges Bataille's posthumous novel.
  8. Ma Mère, while less prudish than Catherine Breillat's dour deconstructions of sex, is also less competent. It winds up making incest look absurdly swank.
  9. Yet another stylish exercise in depravity in which Huppert floats through the sordid proceedings in a calm haze. If only the film she inhabits was as sexy as it aspires to be.
  10. At first, Ma Mère is shocking and even alluring, but it doesn't take long for the conceit to wear thin, especially since the characters so rarely act as recognizable humans.
  11. Ma Mère may be ludicrous, but its cast displays a commitment that deserves more than grudging admiration.
  12. So clinically detached it borders on absurd.
  13. Reviewed by: Jessica Reaves
    If you are at all squeamish about incest and/or prefer sex scenes without violent undertones, you should avoid this movie.
  14. This tale of disaffected sexual depravity is practically a parody of the worst of French filmmaking.
  15. 30
    Honoré never gets beneath these characters' sunburned skins, and well before the end, the film tips irretrievably over into the realm of absurdity.
  16. 25
    Huppert is wonderful, as usual, and she's to be congratulated for taking this daring role. But, alas, even she can't save Ma Mere.
  17. 110 minutes of Euro silliness mitigated only by the presence of Huppert and the striking ability of the actors to keep a straight face throughout this mess.
  18. Degrading, disgusting and depressing.
  19. Involves such a disturbing blend of unhealthy mother-son affection and physical pain that it gives new meaning to the term child -- not to mention audience -- abuse.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 104 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 3 out of 6
  1. Rob
    Nov 5, 2005
    This movie fails on almost every level except for 2 heavily important ones: the acting, and the depiction of how one wreckles soul can destroy the lives and steal the innocence of everybody she comes into contact with. Full Review »
  2. PrudenceK.
    Jul 10, 2005
    Louis Garrel and Isabelle Huppert both deserve Oscar for their chilling performances! Incredible film. The best film I've ever seen of all time. Full Review »