Jennifer Lopez Shines as a Fearless Assassin in Netflix's Thought-Provoking Thrill-Ride, 'The Mother'

More than two decades ago, Jennifer Lopez had millions of fans on the edge of their seats as her character, Slim Hiller, fought for her life in the crime thriller, Enough. Even with the odds stacked against her, the terrified mother went to great lengths to protect herself and her child from an abusive husband. But after realizing that running wouldn't solve the problem, she took on a new approach—one that involved finally confronting her partner.

Lopez's new action drama, The Mother, which hits Netflix Thursday, isn't quite the same, but it does carry the same theme of how far a mother will go to ensure her child's safety. Helmed by Niki Caro, best known for Disney's live-action remake of Mulan, the film follows a nameless FBI agent (Lopez) who gives up her daughter (Lucy Paez) in hopes of protecting her from vengeful enemies. However, after 12 years, this plan falls apart when her daughter is suddenly captured and held hostage.

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Naturally, Lopez brings her A-game as the hardened, no-nonsense mom. She's a skilled FBI agent who got involved with some dangerous people, and she's been in hiding ever since. So when she finally comes face to face with her biological daughter, Zoe, she's not the stereotypical Hallmark mom. She's sneaky, calculating and, for the most part, emotionally distant. But one can't help but empathize with her character, considering what she went through.

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We won't spoil the details of her dark past, but let's just say that she's still dealing with the consequences of her mistakes—and she's determined to shield Zoe from them, even if it means staying out of her life. Eventually, Zoe's mom is forced to come out of hiding to save her, and things don't go so smoothly.

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Given that most fictional mothers are kept on the sidelines, it's incredibly satisfying to see a mother step up and be the action hero. And what makes this movie even more powerful is that it centers on a flawed woman who leads a rather complicated life. She's not necessarily a superhero mom who effortlessly juggles parenthood and marriage with a career—she's a killer with a target on her back, and this only sharpens her maternal instincts.

The Netflix drama successfully turns the common "TV/movie mom"  stereotype on its head, but it also boasts plenty of action scenes to keep fans invested, from brutal fights to high-speed motorbike chases. Joseph Fiennes makes a terrifying villain and Omari Hardwick shines as a trusted ally. But truly, it's J.Lo who remains the star from beginning to end. Fans who loved Enough will especially enjoy seeing her as an action hero.

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PureWow Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Jennifer Lopez delivers one of her most engaging performances in The Mother—a two-hour thrill ride that examines mother-daughter relationships and challenges shallow stereotypes. Fans of her old classic, Enough, will be happy to see her channel her inner Slim once again.

For a full breakdown of PureWow's entertainment rating system, click here.

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nakeisha campbell bio

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a wide range of topics, like career...