If you see one movie this Mothers’ Day weekend make it, A Quiet Place.
I bet you thought I would say, Tully.
While the Diablo Cody film starring Charlize Theron as a mom on the edge might seem like the logical choice, I have yet to see the movie, and don’t feel right discussing it just yet. I have a feeling, even if I had seen it, I might still tell you to go see A Quiet Place.
As far as horror movies go, A Quiet Place, is far from original, nor is it particularly frightening. The premise (post apocalyptic survival) has made the rounds many times before, and the film has few truly unexpected scares. And, even those are fairly predictable scary movie tropes. However, when I looked beyond my expectations for what a horror film is supposed to be, and allowed myself to digest the message, I found myself liking A Quiet Place more and more.
Without giving too much away, the film centers around the Abbott family, who are living in a rural town in the days and years following an alien invasion. They have managed to outlive most of the local citizens and presumably most other humans throughout the planet by adapting to a life of virtual silence so as not to be found by the aliens, who rely on their incredible sense of hearing to find their prey.
A Quiet Place is ultimately a story of family and the strength to persevere under the most dire circumstances. As I watched the film, I found myself caring less about the aliens and their threat, and falling more in love with the raw humanity displayed by the Abbotts. In one touching scene, we see father Lee Abbott (played by John Krasinski, who also directed the film) and mother, Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) embrace in a slow dance, him cradling her pregnant belly, while they share an mp3 player.
Krasinski, who is married to Blunt in real life, does a fine job of portraying the patriarch and protector of the family, a role no doubt influenced by his reality, but it is Blunt’s nuanced performance which makes the film.
In Evelyn Abbott, Blunt gives us a character who is the beating heart of a family barely hanging on. Her strength lies in her ability to ease the minds of her own children, while summoning all her will to keep it together. Oh, and she does all of this while pregnant and facing the harrowing reality that her labor and delivery, not to mention a wailing newborn, could lead to certain death.
Evelyn is the perfect metaphor for motherhood. Our fears may not be in the form of monsters, but they are frightening all the same. We are haunted by the thought of our children being hurt. We fret over their upbringing, wondering if we are doing it right. The ghosts of past transgressions are ever-present reminders of how easy it is to mess up. And there is that always looming sense of having little control over our kids’ future.
We take the fear, the anxiety and the worry, and we find a way to be strong.* We power through the hard times because our children need us — our family needs us. We may not be facing bloodthirsty aliens, but we summon just as much strength and courage as Evelyn Abbott. She is the mama bear in all of us.
A Quiet Place is now playing in theaters nationwide.
*If you are struggling with anxiety, depression or related mental health challenges, do not hesitate to seek help.