Good Bad Mother review: A slice of life story with a gut-wrenching yet authentic take on a mother's relationship with her child!

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Aishwarya Srinivasan
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Good Bad Mother


Netflix’s Good Bad Mother starring Lee Do Hyun and Ra Mi-Ran literally has a bit of every genre which makes you cry one minute and your heart flutter in the next!

Being a mother never comes with a roadmap or guide that you get to follow about how to do things the right way. How to be a ‘good mother’? What even is a good mother? The lines are always blurred for the answer to that. And Good Bad Mother authentically dives into the complexities of this. It shows some toxic realities and heartwarming moments between a mother and child which leaves you feeling conflicted about whether you should feel bad for her or call her out for her baneful patterns.

Good Bad Mother starts with Jin Young-Soon (Ra Mi-Ran) and Choi Hae-Sik (Cho Jin Woong) falling in love, getting married and running a pig farm together. They're simple people, living a simple life and want to stay happy with whatever little they have. Jin Young-Soon then gets pregnant with their first child and the two couldn’t be happier. But little did they know that the small world that they had made for themselves would completely turn upside down. Song Woo-Byeok (Choi Moo-Sung), the CEO of Woo Byeok group approaches them with an offer to give up their pig farm so it can be used as a part of the Seoul Olympics. This piece of land was the only heirloom he had so there was no way he was going to give it up. This leads to a really nasty war between Choi Hae- Sik and the Woo Byeok group, who with their money and power have everyone in their pockets, including the judge of their court case. It eventually ends with Choi Hae-Sik being brutally murdered which was made to look like a suicide, and Jin Young-Soon left as a single mother who now has to fend for herself.

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The fact that life has been so unfair to her makes her bitter towards her son Choi Kang-Ho (Lee Do Hyun). He becomes her way to repent for not knowing better or being smart enough. Since day 1 she decides that her son will be a prosecutor, so nobody can ever take advantage of or fool him the way she was. She pressurizes him to study every minute of his life, taking away all the simple pleasures a boy his age should have. He can’t eat too much, he can’t sleep too much, he can’t have friends, so TV is definitely out of the question. She goes to the extent of even hitting him when he rebels. They don’t have any warmth in their relationship at all. She wants the best for him but like most Asian parents she fails to show that affection in the right way. Which makes him a very cold hearted person towards her and of course living your whole life in fear can do that to you. 

After becoming a prosecutor, he starts his own deranged level of revenge from everyone who is responsible for his father’s death. It makes you even dislike his character for a moment. When he wants to cut every contact with his mother, you feel bad for her but you also feel like she deserved it for raising him so cruelly. But the mother and son are given a clean slate to re-do their extremely messy relationship. A very unforeseen accident leads to him losing all his memories. Mentally he goes back to when he was 7 years old and physically he is on the support of a wheel chair. Which makes him completely dependent on his mother. The bad mother created a heartless monster but now it’s turn for the good mother to take over and raise her son with the love that he was initially deprived of. The two love each other in the way a mother and son are always meant to and slowly heal their relationship. Maybe him going back to his 7 year old self is a way of saying that his inner child was never really gone because he was never even nurtured well.

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The show is so well written by Bae Se-Young that it constantly gives jaw dropping moments with its constant plot twists and unpredictability. The metaphors between pigs and humans and the way Ji Young-Soon relates to a pig who is also about to be a mother, makes you realize that animal or human, a mother is the same in any kind, always protective of her infant. Good Bad Mother gives you the best of all worlds. A small countryside vibe like Hometown Cha Cha, thriller and brutality like Little Women, romance like Our Beloved Summer, and soup for the soul like Reply 1988. It reminds you of all the classics in the K-drama genre and yet stands out on its own too. 6 episodes in and the show has already managed to grab everyone’s attention, one can only wonder what roller coaster ride the mother and son duo have in store for us as the story unfolds every week. 

New episodes of Good Bad Mother will be out every Wednesday and Thursday on Netflix.

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