Bad Moms

‘A Call to Arms for modern mums’

Video credit: The Ellen Show

Bad Moms is a deliberately over the top depiction of the reality of being a modern mum. The movie centres around Mila Kunis’ character, Amy, and her trials as a mum, worker, wife and friend. Her seemingly perfect life unravels early on in and she spends the film rediscovering who she is and what really matters.

Mila Kunis is supported by an excellent cast. Each actor owned their character and equally contributed to the hilarity on screen. Although written and directed by men, Bad Moms is written for women with an impressive understanding of what motherhood is now like.

The scenarios in this story are relatable and although fanciful, are drawn from reality. I empathised with each of the mum’s situations and the constant push/pull in several directions at once. Sometimes you just want to say ‘F*** this s***, I’m having a break’ and boy did they do that. I am fortunate through my job to have several opportunities to do just that, but I know a lot of mothers who aren’t. Children are certainly a blessing, but they turn your life upside down and its easy as a parent to get lost in their world.

Image credit: STX Entertainment

The kind of strong female character development we need portrayed more often.
Several of the main characters went through significant growth in this film. It’s one of the main themes of this film, growth and change may be scary but is a good thing. What’s important though is that the women didn’t go through this change on their own. They had their friends to support, challenge and push them forwards. These examples of healthy female relationships need to be seen more often and celebrated.

Amy (Mila Kunis) and Kiki (Kristen Bell) went through the most significant change. At the beginning of the film, Amy was highly strung, stressed out and under-appreciated. When she caught her husband cheating, she kicked him out and was reborn as a woman who wasn’t going to put up with any crap. Obviously, this didn’t go perfectly to plan (if it did, we wouldn’t have a film) but she learnt along the way and her self-worth increased exponentially.

The increased self-worth was also on display with Kiki. At the beginning of the film she was a meek & stressed mum who had lost herself in raising her children and her dominating husband. By the end of the film, with the support of her friends and a good example set by Amy and Carla (played brilliantly by Kathryn Hahn), she found the inner strength to set her own boundaries.

Although romance is featured within the film, it’s not the focus.
There were two main love interests in the film for Amy: her husband Mike, and Jessie. These romantic relationships are used more as stimulus for the bigger theme of ‘the sisterhood’ as opposed to being the main focus.

Amy’s return to the dating scene made for great comedy. It wasn’t about her finding a new forever man, but her having a good time, on her terms. It was a great set-up for some fantastic scenes. The bathroom scene left me in tears…of laughter. It was comedy gold and gives an insight into the kinds of conversations women have with each other (We don’t all sit around drinking tea and talking about the weather or fashion. Women talk about sex as well, and we enjoy it.)

Image credit: STX Entertainment

Diverse female characters are the foundation of Bad Moms.
All parents are different however, this isn’t always portrayed on screen and is a real sticking point for me. Without diverse portrayal, there isn’t relatability. Bad Moms succeeds in showing a diverse range of mums and dads. It reaffirms to the audience that we’ve moved on from the 1950’s perfect housewife and that’s ok. In fact, it’s better than ok, it’s the way it should be.

This was particularly apparent with the three main protagonists Amy, Kiki and Carla. They brought to the friendship not only three different personalities but diverse life experiences. Yes, there were moments in the film when they ribbed each other, but that’s what happens in friendships. By and large they were accepted for who they were and pushed each other to be the best forms of themselves. It’s something we should all strive to have in our lives. This bond extended beyond the screen. Watching many of the promotional interviews with the three of them, it’s clear they genuinely support and care for each other.

I also need to make mention of Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Annie Mumolo who did a fantastic job as the mum version of Mean Girls, it added punch to the story.

Image credit: STX Entertainment

Comedy was the vehicle for life lessons.
The power of this film is its ability to address the difficult moments we experience as adults and parents in humorous and relatable ways.

As modern mums, there are expectations to be everything to everyone, and it’s just not viable. This is largely driven by a combination of gender constructs, a preoccupation with perfection and our desire to take every opportunity we have because of those who didn’t have the opportunity before us. But somethings got to give.

There are several lessons I take away from this film:
1. We live in a bullshit pretend world. Let’s occasionally stop pretending everything is ok and remember that other people are going through as much of a hard time as you are.
2. The power of the sisterhood when we come together and support rather than criticise.
3. Parents should take the opportunity to go out and explore the non-parent part of you. It’s there, sometimes we just need to dig deep to find it!

Bad Moms is available on Stan in Australia and Netflix in most other countries.

The Key players
Main cast: Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate & Jada Pinkett Smith
Directors: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore
Writers: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore
Full cast & crew

More info
There’s a real life Bad Mom’s group inspired by the movie and we attended one of their epic parties
Bad Moms is getting is a third instalment, because Bad Momming never ends
Mums behaving badly: films take aim at the myth of the perfect parent
7 Times Bad Moms was scarily accurate about parenthood
Bad Moms: Kristin Bell, Mila Kunis reminisce with their moms
Mila Kunis, Kristin Bell and Kathryn Hahn on ‘Bad Moms’, Junk Food and the all Female cast

Published by Lana Blanchard

Food, movie and karaoke lover. Mother of two. Still looking for that so called 'balance'.

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