Film Review: EARTH MAMA (2023): A Finely Crafted Character Study with a Terrific Lead Performance by Tia Nomore

Doechii Tia Nomore Earth Mama

Earth Mama Review

Earth Mama (2023) Film Review, a movie written and directed by Savanah Leaf and starring Tia Nomore, Erika Alexander, Keta Price, Doechii, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Bokeem Woodbine, Dominic Fike, James Allen, Tina D’Elia and Ca’Ron Jaden Coleman.

Savanah Leaf’s new drama, Earth Mama, doesn’t ever let its star, Tia Nomore’s character, Gia, become a cliche. Gia is wildly unpredictable and has fierce independence, yet she can’t get anything that is important to her right in her life. Gia works as a photographer’s assistant, preparing families to take photographs that will make for lifelong memories. Gia is a mother and a pretty good one, but she’s restricted by her previous choices in life which don’t allow her to fly in the way she would like as a parent. As a mother, Gia could probably do a bit better but she’s trying her hardest to be the best person she can be for the good of her kids. Leaf’s picture is very detailed and believable and almost feels like a documentary at times which makes one realize the true strength of the acting, particularly the performance of Tia Nomore which drives the film home as an emotional character study that is probing and deeply moving.

There’s no denying that Gia’s young son, Trey (Ca’Ron Jaden Coleman) loves his mother, but his sister is a little harder to understand. We don’t know what the sister is feeling during a visitation that starts off the film where Gia is late to see her kids and the daughter gives her the cold shoulder. Gia is pregnant again and is going through a hard time with her very delicate personal situation. She doesn’t have much money and her cell phone company is constantly demanding she pay her small bill. Gia has a friend, Trina (Doechii) who isn’t the best influence, but they hang out together, nevertheless. Gia goes to a support group but doesn’t want to tell her story to the group. She probably has a lot to say but remains quiet. She criticizes someone who speaks at the group but she’s a bit scared of her own situation which is, perhaps, why she doesn’t reveal it to the group.

Miss Carmen (Erika Alexander) is the case worker assigned to Gia’s delicate situation. Gia considers an adoption where she would have say in terms of who would get to adopt her soon-to-be born baby. The potential adoptive parents (well played by Sharon Duncan-Brewster and Bokeem Woodbine) are good people and Gia likes them. However, is it possible to part with the life that is growing inside of her that Gia wishes so desperately she could provide a better life for?

There are a number of compelling scenes here. One has Gia stealing diapers from a baby carriage when her boss fails to give her an advance on her paycheck. However, the sequences between Miss Carmen and Gia are the strongest in the picture as Miss Carmen sets Gia straight in terms of how important it is for Gia to do the right thing to be able to have the life with her kids that she so desires. Nomore and Alexander shine and play off each other with great precision. These are two terrific performances.

Keta Price co-stars as Mel who offers moral support to Gia throughout the picture. Price and Nomore also connect well on-screen together in scenes throughout the movie. Some parts of this film will be maddening for some viewers, however, because the audience will want to hug Gia at times and yell at her at others. Gia is a flawed character with a lot of depth. Gia has had a tough life and is torn between trying to do better for herself and settling for the reality which is presented before her.

Earth Mama plays like a well-constructed character study. It feels authentic and is very touching. Nomore is the center of the picture and is the reason for its success. She makes the audience feel for her character even when she’s at her worst. It’s hard not to care about Gia as she makes mistakes that ultimately won’t be able to be erased.

Nomore excels in her last major scene in the picture where she explains to the court the action that she would like it to consider in regard to her future. Nomore knocks it out of the park and then some here. If Earth Mama is less than perfect due to some minor plot developments which feel a bit unsatisfying, it is still a major stepping stone to bigger projects for director Savanah Leaf who keeps the viewer engrossed in the action thanks to the fine performance she manages to get from Nomore.

As Earth Mama offers no easy answers in regard to the topics it tackles, it is a bit open-ended in respect to what will happen in terms of Gia’s future. Still, thanks to Nomore, we feel all the pains and passions of Gia and root for her even if we know she’s not doing everything she should be doing to secure a better life for herself. This movie is quite powerful and is well worth seeing.

Rating: 7.5/10

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