Mary (Taraji P. Henson) is a hit woman working for an organized crime family in Boston, whose life is completely turned around when she meets a young boy whose path she crosses when a professional hit goes bad.
I can’t for the life of me remember how I heard about this movie? It certainly didn’t have great marketing, but at any rate I looked forward to it for months because uhhh Taraji is really pretty and I’m gay for women beating the shit out of douchey men.
I actually went to go see it with my best friend before she LEFT ME to go study abroad, so I’m happy we both enjoyed it as it was just one part of a great night.
The gist of the movie is that Mary assassinates this guy and, while leaving the scene of the crime, realizes he has a son. Who she just made an orphan. She takes the kid – Danny – under her wing some time later out of remorse, but extricating herself from the life she’s made is no easy feat and together, the two of them are drawn deeper and deeper into danger.
“Newsflash, asshole! I am the mothering type!”
I loved the way Mary and Danny serve as foils for each other. Similar childhoods. Similar Issues™. Similar sense of humor. And they’re always there for one another. At times the plot is rather predictable, but I’m always a sucker for parallels in narrative structures soooo like… I actually didn’t mind the predictability that much.
Proud Mary‘s R rating is definitely warranted: Between the shootouts and a torture scene, it’s a lot bloodier than I thought it would be. I dealt with that just fine, but I wanted you to know in case that sort of thing bothers you because I know I didn’t expect that level of violence in a movie where one of the two leads is like twelve.
The music was FANTASTIC. No matter how many times I’ve seen it before, I love a good action scene with some overly-loud music in the background. Somehow I don’t think I’d ever heard Tina Turner’s cover of “Proud Mary” before?! I had the Creedence Clearwater Revival version – which is what I was raised on – stuck in my head for weeks leading up to this movie.
One major criticism I do have is that the plot took a while to really get going. Britany Murphy at Geeks of Color said it better than I could in her review of the movie, but essentially the action didn’t pick up until the third act.
By that time, I was on the edge of my seat, worried for Mary and Danny. No spoilers, but what an intense ending! I felt emotionally drained by the time we left the theater. I just wish the earlier scenes hadn’t dragged along. It was as if the filmmakers were fumbling around for a story, making their way through a fog until they found the right path to take. Once they got there, their hard work paid off.
Proud Mary was the first film I saw in 2018… and what a way to start the year. While it isn’t without its flaws, overall it has a lot of heart and humor. And plenty of action! It’s not one that I would watch again right away, but I definitely do want to revisit it at some point in the future.