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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Stranger Danger

Ma (2019) on IMDb

Plot Overview

WelcomeBonny sixteen-year-old Maggie Thompson (Dianna Silvers) returns with her well-preserved mother Erica (Juliette Lewis) to the latter's roots in Ohio, who remembers when she “couldn't wait to leave this one-horse town.” On Maggie's first day of school, a Friday, she is approached by pretty Haley (McKaley Miller) asking her to join her popular friends in hanging out that night. They decide to “drive around and get drunk,” but first they send their trophy Negro Darrell (Dante Brown) to lurk out­side a con­ven­ience store and ask patrons to purchase the booze for them. He gets the brush-off (“Piss off, boy”) until he gives up, saying there's “a bunch of racists out there.” Eventually, one of them scores with a middle-aged negress, Sue Ann Elling­ton (Octavia Spencer,) who recalls her own school days of drinking at the same rock pile where they're headed.

Their parents were the popular crowd back then, and the racism was worse. They'd pulled a low rag on naive, plain Sue Ann in a janitor's closet at Franklin high school, and now under her sobriquet “Ma,” it's pay­back time. She invites the unsuspecting kids to use her base­ment for partying.


rotating earthMa in the one-horse town evokes the biblical character Ham, which name we can derive from the first letter ‘H’ of (one-) horse appended to Ma spelled backwards ‘am’ to get Ham one of Noah's three sons: (Gen. 9:18-19) “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth over­spread.” Siblings tend to pair up, and Shem & Japheth were a duo of some kind, but Ham being the odd man out picked up his youngest son Canaan in the biblical narrative. That's the way it goes. Sue Ann in her day was excluded from the in-crowd and became reclusive latching onto her only daughter Genie (Tanyell Waivers) whom she kept with her in isolation.

(Gen. 9:20-23) “And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the naked­ness of his father, and told his two brethren with­out. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went back­ward, and covered the naked­ness of their father; and their faces were back­ward, and they saw not their father's naked­ness.” There was some intoxication. Ma forced Maggie's boyfriend Andy (Corey Fogelmanis) to strip naked at a party to humiliate him, and Ma herself stripped Andy's drugged dad Ben Hawkins (Luke Evans) naked and bound him in her bed. In high school he had been a foot­ball jock. Ma was into taking selfies with the new in-crowd as they were drugged and in her power, just as Ham did some kind of boasting to his older two brothers to bolster his status vis-à-vis their father. Ham and Ma were not good people.

(Gen. 9:24-27) “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son [Ham] had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” Japheth was to be integrated with (to dwell in the tents of) Shem. From Shem come the Semites, of course. Writer Bodie Hodge holds forth that: “Generally, from the Middle East in the land of Shinar (modern-day Iraq, where Babel was), Japheth's descendants went north toward Europe and Asia, Ham's went toward Africa, and Shem's remained in the Middle East” (183). The servitude of Ham as passing to his youngest son Canaan also encompassed his eldest son Cush, see Gen. 10:6. Cush is Hebrew for black, whose descendants settled in Africa. Canaan is the youngest son of Ham carrying the curse on the whole family by a figure of speech called a synecdoche whereby a part stands for the whole. (Jasher 73:35) “For the Lord our God gave Ham the son of Noah, and his children and all his seed, as slaves to the children of Shem and to the children of Japheth, and unto their seed after them for slaves, forever.”

Sue Ann (Ma) was a veterinary aide at Brooks Veterinary, behind the scenes, out of public view, where through­out the movie her boss Dr. Brooks (Allison Janney) had to admonish her to get off her smart phone and back to work. An enforced servitude was the only way to get this Ma character to stop her self-aggrandizing and do some­thing useful. Ma for fear of Genie being ridiculed, kept her out of school for prolonged seasons saying she was sick, and she made her ride in a wheel­chair even though she could walk. This would necessarily leave her ill-prepared for either mental or physical labor later in life, prolonging the girl's low slave-like status, as some­how Ma's was passed down to her through the ages.

Production Values

” (2019) was directed by Tate Taylor. It was written by Scotty Landes. It stars Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis, and Luke Evans. Spencer gave a fantastic per­for­mance as a troubled “Ma.” She was backed up by a great supporting cast, although to be sure, their shallow characters didn't require much talent to flesh them out.

MPAA rated it R for violent/disturbing material, language through­out, sexual content, and for teen drug and alcohol use. At least Ma was able to correct their blaspheming God's name. Ma's period music helped define her generation.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This movie would work best for an audience actively participating in their own frights. There are plenty of them, but they seem to stretch credence after a while with a woman so messed up but having gone undetected all that time. But it is what it is. I enjoyed it, though I doubt if I'll have any nightmares.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Video Occasion: Good for Groups. Overall movie rating: Three and a half stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

The Book of Jasher. Trans­lated from the Hebrew into English (1840). Photo litho­graphic reprint of exact edition published by J.H. Parry & Co., Salt Lake City: 1887. Muskogee, OK: Artisan Pub., 1988. Print, WEB.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.