Directed by: Ben Steiner
Distributed by: Hulu
Written by Jeff Sparks
Kate Dickie is one of my favorite actors and one of the very best in the world if you ask me. She always gives one hundred percent effort in every project whether it be big or small. It’s been a bit of a down year for her in 2022. She’s starred in “Shepherd,” “Sorority,” and “Raven’s Hollow,” all films that I gave mediocre scores. The single good feature film she’s been in this year is “The Northman” where she had an incredibly small role. The trend of mediocrity continues with “Matriarch” where she stars alongside Jemima Rooper. Rooper plays a burnt-out woman named Laura who escapes her city life and returns home to reconnect with her abusive mother (Dickie). When Laura notices the townspeople acting strange she begins to realize her mother may have more sinister intentions in mind than just reconciliation. The duo of Rooper and Dickie carry the film over its 85-minute slow burn. The details of their turbulent background are never fully revealed but there are enough hints to keep their relationship interesting as one of the center points of the narrative.
Despite the solid acting, loads of unnatural dialogue bogs down the film. The final twenty minutes are especially affected by this. The slow pace of the first two acts makes the ending feel rushed and hasty with a reveal that feels as if it belongs in an entirely different film. One thing “Matriarch” does well is tonal control. Though the dreary atmosphere and mysterious aura remain the same for the runtime. A bland color palette is a component of this, which I did not care for. Other than the solid duo of Dickie and Rooper, the best thing I can say about “Matriarch” is that it’s not a bad film.