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Earth Mama (2023) movie review and synopsis

Depending on the eye of the beholder, Gia is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. But her love is undeniable, forcing him to try to find a solution. This world of crushing expectations, grounded but brought into focus by Leaf’s story, sets the scene for a film that quietly but vividly spins a narrative of black womanhood and strength against the odds.

The depth of “Earth Mama” is conveyed from screen to soul with piercing silence; The film’s sound design is commanding in its content. A large percentage of the film is so quiet, either in true silence or dialed-in ambient noise, that such auditory unfamiliarity hits with full force. Gia’s worries are the noises offered, the noisy neighbors or the meetings about the machines making donuts, but these moments are fleeting. She is surrounded by calm in every moment of emotional bearing, whether solo or in conversation, allowing the script’s incredible dialogue to take center stage.

The quiet energy of “Earth Mama” is further supported by the quality of its home-made cinematography. Nuance forms the core of “Earth Mama” and is conveyed by restrained dream sequences that portray womanhood at its most stripped-down, with social connections and contexts completely detached. Whether Gia is walking slowly through the forest, her bare pregnant body amidst true nature, or standing in front of a mirror, pulling her rotting umbilical cord from her body, both depict a pure animal that inspires fear in its beauty and ferocity.

Leaf’s close-ups are as poignant as the film’s silence. They take us inside Gia, highlighting the subtle details of expression and the female form. “Earth Mama” pushes the viewer into unapologetic empathy, to feel Gia’s every heartbeat as she runs and stumbles with the weight of her circumstances. The generational trauma born of the responsibilities of motherhood in the cycle of economic oppression is a cornerstone of history. Equally powerful is the inherited struggle of a mother’s love versus her child’s rage in these circumstances. As this web of emotions spins, Gia and the other women in her circle find that in adulthood, their roles have been reversed. Now they are on the other side of the table.

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