Jennifer Lopez in 'The Mother'

Breaking Down Jennifer Lopez’s Most Badass Lines in ‘The Mother’

Jennifer Lopez brings the heat with several badass lines in the Netflix original film ‘The Mother.’

The Netflix original action thriller The Mother stars Jennifer Lopez as a biological mother committed to protecting her daughter from two ruthless criminals (either of whom may be her biological father). Though she barely knows the girl — a twelve-year-old adolescent happily living in suburbia with her adoptive parents — Lopez’s maternal instinct is just as unwavering as it would be otherwise. It drives every ruthless action, every fearless step she takes.

The story suffers from two-dimensional villains who feel as if they’ve been ripped from the pages of a second-rate comic book and a needlessly bloated runtime. However, Lopez boasts the skills required to deliver convincing badassery. And while some of her dialogue may be a bit cringe-worthy, the moxie behind each willful (and sometimes woeful) line shines through. So, here are Lopez’s most fierce lines as Zoe’s mother in, well, The Mother. 

Spoiler Warning for The Mother on Netflix

Jennifer Lopez and Lucy Paez in 'The Mother'
Jennifer Lopez and Lucy Paez (R) in ‘The Mother’ | Ana Carballosa/Netflix

“You don’t know how bad this gets.”

The Mother opens with Lopez talking to the FBI in what’s supposed to be a secure location. However, she warns the agents present that they are in danger, and the man coming for her is several steps ahead of them. In another perfectly trite but oh-so-delicious exchange, she asks, “You think you’re following him? He’s following you” with a stoic expression reminiscent of 1980’s Rambo and Terminator.  

“You don’t know how bad this gets” slips from her lips moments before bullets come flying through the windows, proving that she was not merely in a pissing contest with the agents she can outwit. 

“She’s not Hector’s and she’s not Adrian’s. She’s mine.”

The Mother never reveals which child trafficking, arms-dealing, cheap-line-slinging baddie is Zoe’s father — Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes) or Hector Álvarez (Gael García Bernal). Yet, this is because such information is of no consequence. Both of these men would use Zoe as a pawn.  Both of these men would risk an innocent child’s life to get to Lopez. 

Thus, when asked who the father is by a man she has grown to trust, Lopez says this, for Zoe will never, in any capacity, “belong” to anyone other than her. This line feels a little far-fetched and awkward considering Zoe has adoptive parents who love her very much and would likely beg to differ. Yet, it adds to Lopez’s characterization as someone with a fierce maternal instinct — someone who pops her shoulder back into place to get one last shot at the man who dares to jeopardize her daughter’s life.

“Every time I look at you, I’m scared.”

Throughout most of The Mother, Lopez comes off as fearless, quick under pressure, and tough to a default. Yet, there is one moment when Zoe expresses her fear, during which viewers get a glimpse of Lopez’s vulnerability. 

Lopez is fighting so hard, remaining so fierce in the face of danger because she must. She must be impenetrable — feign invincibility and teach her daughter to do the same — because she is deathly afraid of what can happen if she doesn’t. She could lose her. It is this fear that propels Lopez. This neverending anxiety keeps her fighting when she has burnt through all of her reserves. Her fear simply manifests outwardly as an unshakeable will. 

Jennifer Lopez and Lucy Paez in 'The Mother'
Jennifer Lopez and Lucy Paez (R) in ‘The Mother’ | Doane Gregory/Netflix

“They can have a nice, long look at me while I kill every last one of them.”

Right before walking into a trap designed to end her, Lopez says this. She doesn’t care that Hector has designed a trap with endless guards to take her out. She is going to enter his home guns-a-blazing and kill ‘em all. This line is the sort of line that conjures a side smirk from anyone who loves an unrealistic action sequence — those sequences during which one human (one unequivocally trained, sharp-shooting, hand-to-hand combat master) —  leaves a pile of bodies in their wake. It’s just as scrumptious as it is senseless. 

The viewers’ knowledge of the impossible mission to follow suit gives this line its power. It builds anticipation — no matter how unoriginal it may be. Such lines are trite for a reason…we eat them up.

“We never had a safe word.”

The mother is trapped. Hector has a gun pointed at her. Yet, he’s flirting with her, making the lead-up to his kill sexual (for male villains in such movies must always blur the lines between sex and violence). 

Hector is aroused both by what awaits and the memories of their past romantic relationship. He teases her, asking if she remembers the games they used to play. He then asks her if she remembers their safe word. And, right when he thinks he’s the cat and she’s the mouse, she headbutts him, stabs him in the gut, and drags the knife up to his chest. He stares at her in shock, with only a few breaths remaining, as she indignantly utters, “We never had a safe word.” Then, of course, she lets him burn down in the fire she leaves behind. For, what is a dramatic exit without ferocious flames? 

“I’m a killer, you know that now. But I’m also a mother, and I will die protecting you.”

Lopez leaves a note for Zoe that she intends for her to read once she gets to safety. Lopez, at last, opens up to her daughter in the manner Zoe has been craving all along. Lopez lets Zoe know who she is. She is an assassin. However, “murderer” is not her sole label. She is a mother; thus, she is a guardian. She is a protector like no other, and when push comes to shove, that murderous instinct is no stronger than when paired with her maternal one.

Though The Mother undoubtedly suffers from trite storytelling and subpar characterizations, it excels when it comes to giving Lopez some badass lines — ones she can utter before she kills all those who threaten her daughter’s life. 

About the author

Josh Lezmi

Josh is an entertainment writer and editor at Thought Catalog.