REVIEW: ALL CROPS: The Eyes of My Mother (2016) Kika Magalhaes
Credit: Magnet Releasing

Writer-director Nicolas Pesce’s beautifully photographed but aggressively unpleasant art-house horror film will no doubt have its champions, but it won’t find one here. The Eyes of My Mother tells the story of a young girl named Francisca (Olivia Bond) who grows up on a remote farm with her largely silent father and overly intense mother who was once an eye surgeon in Portugal — a vocation that implicitly carries some windows-to-the-soul metaphors that Pesce never figures out what to do with. After a giggling psycho drifter (Will Brill) murders her mother, Francisca and her father exact revenge, turning the killer into their chained-up prisoner in the barn out back after plucking his eyes out because…well, that’s the film’s notion of symbolism. Poor little Francisca eventually grows up and becomes a beautiful, deadpan sociopath herself (played by Kika Magalhães), interacting with the world on her sick terms. She’s like Norman Bates with a prairie dress and an ill-defined ophthalmology fetish. Francisca’s descent into madness isn’t particularly interesting. Still, it’s not all a bust. The film has a stunningly hypnotic look thanks to Zach Kuperstein’s crisp black-and-white ­cinematography. It feels like a waking nightmare. It’s just enough to make you wonder how a film that’s so ugly managed to look so damn good. C–

The Eyes of My Mother
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