The Eyes of My Mother

The Eyes of My Mother is a 2016 American black-and-white horror film written, edited and directed by Nicolas Pesce in his directorial debut. It stars Kika Magalhães, Olivia Bond, Diana Agostini, and Paul Nazak. The film was produced by Borderline Presents and Tandem Pictures and distributed by Magnet Releasing.

The Eyes of My Mother
Directed byNicolas Pesce
Produced by
  • Max Born
  • Jacob Wasserman
  • Schuyler Weiss
Written byNicolas Pesce
  • Kika Magalhães
  • Olivia Bond
  • Diana Agostini
  • Paul Nazak
Music byAriel Loh
CinematographyZach Kuperstein
Edited byNicolas Pesce
  • Borderline Presents
  • Tandem Pictures
Distributed byMagnet Releasing
Release date
  • January 22, 2016 (2016-01-22) (Sundance)
  • December 2, 2016 (2016-12-02) (United States)
Running time
77 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
  • English
  • Portuguese
Box office$27,539[2]

The Eyes of My Mother premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and was theatrically released in the United States on December 2, 2016, by Magnet Releasing. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and a polarizing reception from audiences.[3]


Francisca and her parents live on a farm where they raise animals. A trained surgeon, Francisca's mother teaches her how to remove eyeballs from farm animals, as well as the legend of St. Francis of Assisi. One day, Charlie, a door-to-door salesman, asks to use the bathroom. Against her better judgment, Francisca's mother lets him into the house. Charlie draws a gun and takes Francisca's mother into the bathroom. When her father comes home, he finds Charlie bludgeoning his wife’s body in the tub. He knocks Charlie out and chains him up in the barn. Francisca and her father bury her mother in the backyard. Francisca visits Charlie and he explains the thrill of killing others. Francisca removes Charlie's eyes and vocal cords, then bags them and puts them in the refrigerator. She explains to Charlie that he was not killed because he is her only friend and she will look after him.

Years later, the adult Francisca's father dies, and she preserves the body. She meets a young woman, Kimiko, at a bar. Kimiko and Francisca return to her home, but after learning that Francisca’s mother was killed, Kimiko is frightened when Francisca jokes oddly that she murdered her father. Kimiko tries to leave but Francisca murders her, chops her up and bags her organs, putting them in her refrigerator. Afterward, she bathes Charlie, still chained up in the barn, and brings him inside to sleep with her. Charlie attempts to escape, but she catches him and repeatedly stabs him. She tells him that he was right; killing another person “feels amazing”.

However, now distraught at being completely alone, she wanders the woods until she reaches a highway and catches a ride with a woman named Lucy back to the house. Lucy has a baby son named Antonio who Francisca kidnaps upon reaching the house. She stabs Lucy and praises her dead mother for bringing the pair to her, then keeps Lucy's son as her own child. Like Charlie, Lucy has her eyes and vocal cords cut out and is kept chained up in the barn.

When Antonio grows to about 8–9 years old, he becomes curious about the barn, seeing his mother go in and out of it and having been told to never enter. One night while Francisca is asleep he enters the barn and is shocked at seeing a person in chains and groaning unintelligibly - his mother.

Lucy later escapes the barn, and makes her way to a road where a trucker finds her. Francisca discovers the escape and digs up her mother’s body, cradling the skeleton and telling her how much she misses her. Upon her return to the house, she sees police coming to the house and rushes to wake Antonio. Taking him into the bathroom while holding a knife, she screams that the police will never take her baby. A gunshot is heard, and the film ends.


  • Kika Magalhães as Francisca
    • Olivia Bond as Young Francisca
  • Diana Agostini as the Mother
  • Paul Nazak as the Father
  • Will Brill as Charlie
  • Joey Curtis-Green as Antonio
  • Clara Wong as Kimiko
  • Flora Diaz as Lucy


The Eyes of My Mother premiered in the NEXT section at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2016.[4] It was acquired by Magnolia Pictures' foreign language film division Magnet Releasing.[5] It was released to select theaters and via iTunes, cable/satellite video on demand, and Amazon Video on December 2, 2016.[citation needed] The film is also available on Netflix streaming.


The Eyes of My Mother was positively received by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently holds a score of 78%, based on 96 reviews, with an average of 6.7/10. The site's consensus states: "The Eyes of My Mother uses a shocking trauma to fuel a hauntingly hypnotic odyssey whose nightmarish chill lingers long after the closing credits."[6] Metacritic reports a 63 out of 100 rating, based on 23 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[7]


  1. ^ "The Eyes of My Mother (15)". British Board of Film Classification. November 2, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  2. ^ "The Eyes of My Mother (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  3. ^ Setoodah, Ramin (February 12, 2016). "Sundance Horror Film 'The Eyes of My Mother' Sells to Magnet Releasing (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  4. ^ "Haunting First Look at 'The Eyes of My Mother' Makes This Sundance Premiere a Must-See". January 12, 2016. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  5. ^ Setoodah, Ramin (February 12, 2016). "Sundance Horror Film 'The Eyes of My Mother' Sells to Magnet Releasing (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  6. ^ "The Eyes of My Mother (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  7. ^ "The Eyes of My Mother Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 7, 2016.

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