In Honeymoon with My Mother, now streaming on Netflix, a man finds his world turned upside down after the love of his life leaves him at the altar. He tries to get his money back for most of the wedding-related expenses, but when it becomes painfully clear that his all-inclusive honeymoon trip is very much non-refundable, he begrudgingly agrees to take his mother with him. We’re here to let you know if it’s worth joining them for the journey.
The Gist: Wedding bells are ringing! A woman gets ready to walk down the aisle, but there’s something amiss. She doesn’t look happy. As she seemingly questions what she’s about to do, a man in a flashy red sports car scrolls through photos of them together while he’s at a red light and gets so lost in his thoughts that he causes a traffic jam. In a moment that feels like it belongs at the end of a rom com, he whips his car around and speeds to the wedding, where he makes a scene and tells this woman he can’t let her go through with her wedding. The two abscond and leave a devastated Jose Luis (Quim Gutiérrez) in their wake. This jilted groom is full of anger and sadness, snapping at his mother Mari Carmen (Carmen Machi) as she goes through the bills from the event and tries to sort everything out.
The biggest thing on the list is getting their honeymoon trip cancelled, but when their travel agent informs them the entire trip is non-refundable, they realize that someone has to go on this all-inclusive trip to the Maritius islands. Mari Carmen begins dreaming about what it would be like to go to this beautiful place, but Jose Luis rejects the idea, horrified by the idea of taking his mother on his honeymoon. After some convincing, however, the mother-son duo head to this tropical oasis and discover that they’ll have to pretend to be a couple if they want all the perks that come with being a lovebird at this resort. This development inevitably leads to more than a few shenanigans, especially as a guy and gal catch their respective eyes and they’re forced to try to keep their little secret. Though Jose Luis is initially hostile and closed off to his mother, he learns more about who she is – and what she’s spent her life doing (and not doing) – during this honeymoon than he’s ever known in his entire life.
Performance Worth Watching: Carmen Machi steals the show as Jose Luis’s mother Mari Carmen, presenting us with a woman who feels like a fully fleshed out person rather than the caricature we’re used to seeing in movies like this. In Mari Carmen, we get a loving mother and a woman of a certain age who rarely gets the opportunity to indulge or take care of herself because she’s so busy handling everybody else. Machi makes her lovable and familiar, which in turn ensures that Honeymoon with My Mother works as well as it does.
Memorable Dialogue: “I’m in a living hell,” Jose Luis declares, just as he opens the suite doors to reveal the most gorgeous paradise imaginable. Good stuff.
Sex and Skin: Mari Carmen goes topless on the beach (much to Jose Luis’s horror), but overall, things are pretty tame.
Our Take: On paper, Honeymoon with My Mother is just okay; its script is predictable, the character dynamic familiar, and the run time a tad too long for the kind of movie it is. Despite this, however, it is undeniably charming. I was fully prepared to roll my eyes through most of it (or pray for it to come to an end), but Honeymoon with My Mother snuck up on me, stealthily shining a light on the all-too-common fate that befalls women like Mari Carmen, women who spend most of their existence taking care of other people and living life within the same four walls. Jose Luis’s grumpy persona is a perfect foil to her relentlessly upbeat energy, providing us with a spirited relationship that is so much fun to watch. Honeymoon with My Mother may keep things pretty shallow and light, but for being what it is, the flick pretty much checks every box. Come for the scenic vacation, stay for Carmen Machi’s memorable performance. It might not be the best thing you watch all week, but Honeymoon with My Mother may very well be the featherlight, soothing balm you need to help see you through these tumultuous times.
Our Call: STREAM IT. It might be predictable, but Honeymoon with My Mother is heartfelt and genuinely funny at points, buoyed by a lovable performance from Carmen Machi.
Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines, hogging the mic at karaoke, and thirst-tweeting. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.