October 6, 2016 Mommy’s Box (Movie Review)
There are not many familial bonds as strong as the one between a mother and son. Though many stories and movies include some, not many focus solely on it. Latest Drama Mommy’s Box focuses on the strength of one particular mother-son relationship. Written, directed and starring Johnny Greenlaw (Dandelion 2005, John’s Life Narrated by God 2011) as main character Nick, Mommy’s Box hits theaters and the digital world September 30, 2016 via Indie Rights. Produced by Achilles Heal Films and All Things Creative, filming took place in New York City.
The story begins with thirty year old Nick working in the music industry, and he is at a crux in his life. When the women he is seeing loses interest and his mother/Mommy (Gina Scarda: All Night with Joey Reynolds 2011, Paul and the Enemy 2012) dies, Nick returns to his hometown and re-evaluates. Nick and his brother Joey (Bill Sorvino: Dangerous Games 2014, A Place for Heroes 2014) must settle up their mother’s affairs and are forced to dredge through past memories in the process. Nick remembers his mother giving him a key and authorization to access her safety deposit box upon her death. He decides to go through the box at a later stage.
While back in his home town, Nick also uses the time to re-acquaint with old friends, Hayes (Jennifer Dorcic in her debut film) and Brett (Joseph D’Onofrio: Goodfellas 1990, A Bronx Tale 1993). He starts going out and, one night at a club, he hears a beautiful young woman, Jordana (Carly Brooke: My Man is a Loser 2014, This is Where I leave You 2014), singing and is immediately attracted to her.
Simultaneously, Joey’s employment at a gym ends, causing him some brief money troubles while he is getting his mother’s house packed up. Nick begins a relationship with Jordana, but once Joey discovers this, he reminds Nick of her connection to their mother. A long time ago, Jordana’s father was in a relationship with Nick’s mother, and it ended in a violent death. Telling Jordana this may place them all in legal danger. Despite this, Nick tells her, which creates turmoil between them, and Nick deals with darker aspects of his mother’s past actions. He then questions his present and future, all the while maintaining his fast-paced job in the music industry. When it all comes to head and he must take action, Nick decides it is finally time to open Mommy’s box and make peace with his past.
Mommy’s Box is most certainly a character-driven Drama, relying heavily on backstory and flashbacks to piece together the story. That said, it is a slow-moving film with plenty of time for the viewer to get to know each character and establish a relationship between the two. In a dramatic sense, Greenlaw has created sufficient and realistic conflict and challenges for the main and sub characters to keep the viewers interest. However, Mommy’s Box may not be for fans of Action or fast-paced movies.
Helping bring the story to life, the acting is mostly solid, though there are a few shaky scenes and one or two – such as the sexual fantasy scenes that were perhaps indulgent rather than necessary. The cinematography by John Rosario captures life in a small town, while the music by Andre Deleon (Silverfish 2016) provides an easy-listening backdrop. All in all, there is nothing ground-breaking or unique about Mommy’s Box, but it is a solid, sound, character-based Drama which provides an emotional viewing experience on many levels. Worth the watch, Greenlaw is a writer/director/producer to keep an eye out for in the future. CrypticRock gives Mommy’s Box 3 out of 5 stars.