In “Your Mother’s Son,” Emman scours the entire home, looking in every corner, seeking Sarah. She doesn’t seem to reply to his messages, which worries him. This happens after a huge fight. He hears her voice, accompanied by an unfamiliar figure, approaching the house from a distance. Sarah brings a young adult along with her, which shocks Emman to the core. Without clearly expressing his emotions, he stares at Sarah for an explanation. Sarah is unfazed by his amazement as she introduces Oliver to Emman, who will be his new housemate. Emman immediately asks the most bugging question that runs in his mind – ‘Are you replacing me?’. A strange vibe starts wafting through the space of the room.

If you’ve seen director Jun Robles Lana’s previous films “Bwakaw” and “Die Beautiful,” you’d be excited to see how he continues to tackle innovative subject matters. His focus on social issues within various communities is usually out of the box, with an ending that would make us think for a long. In “Your Mother’s Son,” filmmaker Jun Lana addresses the complexities of relationships while subtly incorporating age disparities.

The film starts with the introduction of Sarah, a middle-aged woman living in a rural home on the outskirts of town. She manages her time wisely by multitasking – being a tuition teacher and supplying homemade coconut desserts for her customers. As per her personality, she tends to be loud towards everyone around her, especially Emman. It is noted that she addresses Emman as her son.

Emman, a young individual who lacks ambition and goals, stays with Sarah in the same house. Setting the story against the backdrop of the pandemic is a crucial aspect of this narrative. Many are barely holding on to their jobs as a result of the economic crisis. Emman informs Sarah that he is jobless since his workplace is shut down. Sarah stresses the need for Emman to find a new job.

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However, Emman spends his time smoking joints with Amy, who has a sexual relationship with him. Despite Emman being in control of his desires, Emman seems lost in his own world of despair, where something bothers him constantly. Emman returns home and reveals a bigger secret, which also happens to be a game-changing element in “Your Mother’s Son.” Emman is seen to be having an intimate sexual relationship with Sarah, who happens to be his wife after all.

Your Mother’s Son (2023) Movie Review
A still from Your Mother’s Son (2023)

The fact that filmmaker Jun Lana highlights the fundamental components of sexual relationships and eroticism by showing the diversity of human viewpoints is entirely admirable. Emman exemplifies a person whose jealousy has led him to the point of sexual possessiveness. There seems to be a constant buildup of hatred towards Oliver that has grown within Emman from the moment he stepped into Sarah’s home. A scene where Emman carves a hatred message using a profane symbol on Oliver’s guitar shows his form of revenge towards Oliver.

The constant anger towards Oliver indeed emerges from the perception that Oliver is a threat to his life. Emman believes that Oliver will soon replace his position as Sarah’s romantic partner, which also lends credence to Sarah’s shadowy decisions. Keeping Sarah in mind, Sarah’s true feelings about Emman and Oliver’s sexual relationship are difficult to decipher. Emman and Oliver owe Sarah a debt of gratitude for saving them and sheltering them at her home.

Despite frequently displaying the sense of machismo that gives him the “cool guy” impression, Emman has never been aggressive or violent towards Sarah. However, he often argues with Sarah and disrespects her. Oliver, on the other hand, is under the influence of drugs, but he respects Sarah and calls her “Madam Sarah”. With Sarah, Oliver appears to be the brighter side of Emman with his musical talent and obedience. Sarah makes an attempt to abandon Emman and flee with Oliver at one point. In a different scene, Sarah tells Emman that she would not be able to live without him.

Various questions arise due to Sarah’s fickle nature. Does the lack of respect given by Emman drive Sarah to find a replacement for her love life? Does Sarah have genuine attraction towards Oliver, or is this her vengeful move to answer Emman’s sexual connection towards Amy? And does Sarah also suffer from the negativity of possessiveness, just like Emman? There is no definite answer. “

Your Mother’s Son” also delves into the psychological profile of the central characters, explicitly addressing their mental health struggles. His family left Emman at a young age, while Oliver escaped from his abusive father. A scene of Oliver having nightmares of reliving his past trauma sheds light on the effects of depression. We also witness Emman’s constant urge for validation of Sarah’s relationship decisions.

Emman is influenced by his anxiety about losing Sarah, which disrupts his inner peace. On the other hand, Amy suffers from loneliness due to Emman’s negative outlook on their relationship status. The questions here are – Does untreated past trauma lead to individuals with poor mental health? How severely did the mechanism of the pandemic affect the mental health of the people? The director lets the viewers decide.

“Your Mother’s Son,” which premiered at TIFF this year, is a compelling psychological drama that is driven by excellent direction and performances by the lead cast. Actor Kokoy de Santos. He plays Emman, who appears to be a rising star. and whose adaptability puts him in the same league as actor John Lloyd Cruz. Sue Prado, who plays Sarah, has the potential to carry the same engaging energy as actress Viola Davis through her performances.

At the film’s conclusion, we are left to contemplate the darker side of a person’s drive to achieve what he believed was right. It shows a disturbed individual in the confined lockdown environment who might have been afflicted with the ugliest form of possessiveness. Beware, viewers, you’re in for a psychological scare.

★★★½

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Your Mother’s Son (2023) Movie Links: IMDb, MUBI, Letterboxd
The Cast of Your Mother’s Son (2023) Movie: Sue Prado, Kokoy De Santos, Elora Españo
Your Mother’s Son (2023) Movie Genre: Drama | Runtime: 100 mins

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