Goodnight Mommy Movie Explained: What’s the Story Behind?

Analysis of the film’s ending Goodnight Mommy (2022): plot analysis, meaning of the film, explanation of the ending, essence, similar movies.

Country: USA

Genre: drama, thriller

Year of production: 2022

Director: Matt Sobel

Actors: Naomi Watts, Cameron Crovetti, Nicholas Crovetti

Matt Sobel’s film is a remake of the 2014 film and reproduces the original plot almost exactly. However, the duality of history inherent in the Austrian film is absent here. Against this background, it’s probably not worth looking for the deep meaning of the film “Goodnight Mommy”. However, this dark thriller about Capgras syndrome is still not a typical “horror” film.

What is the movie about

Brief description of the contents of the picture. Two twin brothers, Lucas and Elias, come to live with their mother after their parents divorce. The first meeting with the parent after a long separation shocks the guys: she has a white bandage on her head, reminiscent of a balaclava, and it all looks creepy.

Naomi WattsThe role of the twins’ mother was played by Naomi Watts. Still from the film.

The woman reassures her sons: everything is fine, she just had cosmetic surgery not long ago. After this, she briefly instructs them on what they can and cannot do on her territory. In particular, boys are not allowed into her room or barn.

However, the forbidden fruit is sweet. One day, the kids, playing outside, come up with the idea of ​​visiting the barn. They go inside and Elias finds some old toys they used to play with. The guys are perplexed: what is the point of prohibiting them from entering the barn if there is nothing reprehensible there? However, the mother, having learned about this, becomes furious. Having sternly reprimanded her sons, she declares that since they do not listen to good instructions, they will now have to play at home.

From then on, Elias and Lukas begin to notice that something strange is happening to their mother. As if uninterested in restoring the relationship, she withdraws emotionally from them. In addition, she often drinks and lashes out at them for no reason. Eventually the boys begin to be afraid of her.

One night, Elias overhears his mother, while talking to someone on the phone, uttering a strange phrase. In particular, she tells the interlocutor that she “can’t pretend anymore.”

A little later, the guys discover an old photo of their “former” mother. But for some reason in the picture she has green eyes, and not blue, as they are now. After thinking carefully, Elias thinks that he now understands the meaning of the phrase she dropped in the night telephone conversation. The answer is simple and scary: most likely, this woman is not their mother.

Crovetti twinsCameron Crovetti as Elias and Nicholas Crovetti as Lucas. Still from the film.

Lucas suggests turning to his father for help, but his mother does not allow them to do this – in particular, she breaks their common mobile phone. Late one evening, while his mother is taking a bath, Elias tries to remove her mask. The indignant woman does not allow him to do this, and when the boy shouts at her that she is not their mother, she uses force and forces him to apologize.

After this, the guys decide to leave home. A large old house appears on their way and they decide to ask for help from the people living there. The house turns out to be abandoned and then the brothers decide to stay there for the night. But they do not succeed – a little later the police enter the house. Having discovered the boys, they tell them that their mother is looking for them and, without listening to objections, take them with them. Elias shows the law enforcement officers the mark from his mother’s blow, but she (by this time she had managed to remove the bandage) claims that the boy is making it up: he hit himself and simply does not want to go home.

The next morning, the woman wakes up to find herself tied to the bed with duct tape. In a tone that brooks no argument, she demands that Elias release her immediately. To his question about her eyes, she replies that she is an actress and simply used contact lenses, which are now kept in her purse. Lucas interrupts the conversation and says that she is lying – he examined the purse and did not find any lenses. Then he tells his brother that it is time for them to leave.

Closer to the end, the guys leave the house and wait for at least some car to pass by so that they can finally leave here. Suddenly Elias remembers that he forgot his toothbrush at home and resolutely returns. At the same time, he himself examines his mother’s purse and discovers contact lenses there.

At this moment, Lucas appears in the house and asks to be allowed to explain everything, but Elias does not want to listen to anything else. After a fight with his brother, he frees his mother, and Lucas suddenly disappears. The woman, greatly shocked by everything that happened, asks her son to go with her to the barn. There she tells him the terrible truth…

Good Night Mommy Ending explained

Explanation of the ending of the film “Good Night Mommy.” It turns out that even at the time when the parents were divorcing and were absorbed in the process, Elias and his brother were playing in the barn. Then they found a loaded gun and Elias accidentally killed Lucas. The sight of the dead twin and the sobs of the mother shocked the boy so much that his psyche simply blocked the terrible event. So he continued to imagine that Lucas was still with him.

Explaining her strange behavior, the mother gives the following interpretation. She could not come to terms with the death of Lucas, and Elias, naturally, constantly reminded her of him. That’s why she treated him so coldly.

After hearing this, Elias begins to go hysterical. His mother tries to calm him down, but he pushes her hard and she falls from the second floor of the barn. After this, the lantern breaks and the entire building catches fire. The shocked boy, unconscious, runs away.

After this, his psyche once again blocks everything that happened. That is, Elias’s tormented mind again plays a cruel joke on him – he sees Lucas, next to whom their mother is standing. The woman, smiling, warmly tells the boy that he is not to blame for anything.

The meaning of the ending of the film “Good Night Mommy” is very dark: most likely, Elias will remain living in an imaginary world. There is another interpretation of the ending: it is likely that the boy was unable to get out of the dilapidated barn engulfed in flames. That is why he eventually joined the relatives who died due to his fault… Both versions are very scary and it is quite difficult to say which one is worse.

runaway childrenStill from the film.

The meaning of the film Good Night Mommy

Viewers who analyzed the film “Good Night, Mommy” were divided into two camps. Some argue that the Austrian original is a real movie, and the Americans, as always, ruined everything. They object to the fact that the remake also has the right to life – with all its shortcomings, it is still a quite interesting story, adapted for the ordinary, inexperienced viewer.

Some people call this film horror, but this is wrong, because there are neither the usual scares or unpleasant scenes here. But at the same time we are afraid – and more so on a subconscious level.

The painting “Good Night, Mommy” doesn’t exactly awaken the imagination – rather, it makes the “little gray cells” tense up and work. Gradually, the realization comes that all the worst things happen outside the film (“the horror is in the viewer’s head,” as Hitchcock, who was well versed in all this, used to say). Here, almost everything that can be taken “outside the framework” remains out of sight. In fact, we are presented with a segment from a child’s life – a story told not just by someone who does not understand anything, but by a seriously ill child. If you manage to understand this in time, the film will cease to be a horror thriller and turn into a dark drama.

How is the mother behaving? She deeply experiences the double grief of divorce and the loss of Lucas. This is what prevents her from being a good mother for the second boy, Elias. The boy also went through all this – and much harder than she did. But she, withdrawn into herself, does nothing to help the child understand that Lucas is not really next to him. Moreover, she pushes the boy away in every possible way. It is quite understandable that a constantly rejected child will one day begin to think about the terrible question: is this his mother?..

The twins don't recognize their motherStill from the film.

Slowly, under the influence of the imaginary Lucas, Elias’s strong anxiety gradually transforms into paranoia, which ultimately results in the delirium of misrecognition inherent in Capgras syndrome. It doesn’t even help him that his mother removes the bandage from her face so that he can be sure that it is she. The phantom, which the woman naturally does not see, continues to insist that this is not their mother. Elias, who is in severe psychosis, agrees with this and this leads to a terrible ending.

“Good Night, Mommy” is a gloomy and depressing, but at the same time a deep and powerful picture. What is the point of the film? This is, by and large, a story about unhappy lonely children. At the same time, this is a kind of parable about parent-child relationships.

In particular, children’s maximalism is perfectly demonstrated here: rejected by the closest person, the child begins to see in him a cold monster who has somehow replaced his real parent.

However, where a child sees a monster, an adult will notice an ordinary woman who is in severe depression caused by divorce and the death of a child… She simply cannot cope with her own emotions. However, this is precisely why the fragile trust that the boy previously had in her is destroyed.

In general, of course, this film cannot be called a philosophical film with a hidden meaning, but there is a moral in it. It lies in the fact that a child’s mind is characterized by instability and amazing receptivity, and his imagination is cunning (especially if this applies to parents). You can be an ideal mother all your life and only behave differently for one day – and this can ultimately ruin the life of absolutely everyone. Although not on such a catastrophic scale as in this film, it is still worth thinking about.

burnt barnStill from the film.

Similar films

Here are several films similar in meaning and plot to the film “Good Night, Mommy”:

  • “A Tale of Two Sisters” (South Korea, 2003). After long-term treatment in a mental hospital, two sisters return to their home.
  • “The Uninvited” (USA, Canada, Germany, 2008). When Anna’s mother dies, the girl is taken to the hospital. After some time, she finds out that her father is dating a nurse who previously cared for her mother…
  • “The Babadook” (Australia, Canada, 2014). A little boy sees monsters everywhere. One day, the worst monster of his nightmares becomes a reality.
  • “The Gatehouse” (UK, USA, 2019). Mia and Aiden are very afraid of their father’s new girlfriend. Firstly, they cannot forget their dead mother, and secondly, Grace is clearly hiding something.
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