Every young mom needs to see this movie. Scratch that. Every mom needs to see this movie. Scratch that. Every person needs to see this movie. If you’ve ever been a mom, been married to a mom, or even had a mom, you need to see this movie.
Mom’s Night Out is a rare gem of Christian movies. It’s just as funny as any mainstream comedy, just as well-made as any mainstream comedy, with just as good acting as any mainstream comedy. But, it speaks Biblical truth about life, motherhood, marriage, God and our own intrinsic value to Him in a natural way that fits right into the storyline. Finally, a Christian movie you can take your non-Christian friends to see.
Allyson (Sarah Drew) is a stressed-out mom of three little ones who feels like no matter what she does, she’s just not “enough.” Story of my life, and of just about every other young mom I know. Yes, even the Christian ones, maybe even especially the Christian ones. This movie perfectly captures the pressure today’s mom feels to have everything be “pinterest-perfect,” and how often we feel like failures.
To relieve her stress, Allyson’s husband (Sean Astin) suggests she go out for a ladies’ night. She and her friends, Izzy (Andrea Logan White) and Sondra (Patricia Heaton), both with their own mommy problems, leave the kids with their husbands and go out for a night on the town, which, of course, doesn’t go as planned. Critics of the film might say that all that goes wrong that night is a little over the top, but not any more than other “one crazy night” comedies like Bridesmaids or The Hangover or Date Night. That’s just the genre. But Mom’s Night Out is a good, clean version of the genre, with several moments of tenderness and Gospel truth woven in — in just the right places. Just like any good comedy, it made me laugh and made me cry. When the movie title appeared onscreen, I realized I had already both laughed and gotten teary-eyed. And the movie hadn’t really started yet.
I loved the characters. They were realistic and well-rounded, not stereotypical. Sean Astin was great as a sweet-and-wonderful-but-not-perfect husband. He had an immature obsession with video games, but he was supportive and encouraging, and loved his wife and his kids. It’s a real, three-dimensional character. He was neither the bumbling Homer Simpson type of father, nor a perfect, plastic, unrealistic Ken doll type. Patricia Heaton was fantastic as a pastor’s wife with a past, who wasn’t fake and judgmental, but truly showed grace and unconditional love to Allyson and Izzy, even while she struggled with showing the same to her teenage daughter. And what I loved the most was that the ultimate message from God came not from the pastor in a sermon, but from the most unlikely of characters in the most unlikely of places. And it was just as Biblically accurate as if it were from a pastor in a sermon.
This film will make you laugh and cry, and, by the end, make you feel that for Jesus, no matter how much of a mess you are, to Him, you are enough. You are a beautiful mess. If you know any young moms who are stressed out and overwhelmed, or feel like they just aren’t enough, tell them about this movie. Offer to babysit their kids so they can go see it with some girlfriends, or their husband. It could be one of the best Mother’s Day presents they’ll ever get.
Kathy Larson is the director of Christian Education and Creative Arts at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C.