Is the Movie ‘Momma’ Based on a True Story? Explained

Momma movie Poster

Andy Muschietti’s 2013 movie Mama (Momma) ticks all the boxes of Spooky with its chilling and suspenseful narrative. It explains how the pain and loss of a mother can turn monstrous, except in this case, the mother is a supernatural figure, and people can’t do much to stop it. The events in the horror movie are relatable to news headlines, and many viewers wonder whether Mama is based on a true story.

Mama is based on Andy Muschietti’s 2008 Argentine film of the same name, which is not based on a true story. Despite drawing heavily from folklore and urban legend, the plot feels realistically familiar. Muschietti said he drew inspiration for the script from nature, looking at how it treats the weak and the vulnerable in its most brutal state. The appearance of Mama was drawn from a painting of his, which is just as spooky.

On the other hand, Jessica Chastain’s Wannabe punk character of Annabel was largely inspired by the musician Alice Glass. Momma is, therefore, a hybrid of extensive imagination and a wealth of talent on set, especially from Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Jessica Chastain. The final movie is astonishingly scary, with a touch of realism that viewers can relate to, so let’s look at how it all comes together.

What is “Mama” about?

Mama Original

Mama tells the story of two children, Victoria and Lilly, who get lost in the woods after their father, who was planning to kill them in an abandoned cabin, gets killed by a mysterious woman. A search party led by their uncle Lucas and his girlfriend Annabel finds the two children alive five years later.

After taking in the now-feral children, Annabel realizes that the shadowy woman that saved them in the woods has accompanied them to the house. While the elder sister, Victoria, detaches from the mysterious woman they call Mama, little Lilly is still attached to her and doesn’t embrace her new adoptive parents and civilization.


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After the mysterious woman attacks Lucas, Annabel seeks the help of the psychologist, Dreyfuss. They discover that the shadowy figure is the ghost of a woman named Edith Brennan, who died in the woods after escaping a mental asylum in the 1800s with her baby. The ghost adopted the sisters and won’t let them go as she believes they are her child who had been taken away from her.

The doctor’s investigation of the incident leads him back to the cabin where the children were found, but it also angers the ghost, which goes on a killing spree starting with him. Despite Annabel and Lucas getting the remains of the woman’s baby, the ghost is still attached to little Lilly, and the cost of saving the sisters proves to be high for the family.

What is the movie “Mama” based on?

Painting that inspired Mama

Andy Muschietti based his script on urban legend, folklore, and things that happen in nature. The supernatural figure of momma combines inspiration from mythological sources and news headlines while also portraying the brutality of mother nature. The ghost proves that while mother nature can be loving, it can also turn brutal, even to the most vulnerable.

While the script starts with a realistic story of two lost children being found alive five years later, the creators have not confirmed that it is based on any real-life children. Victoria and Lily are, therefore, fictional figures, although their story is still an interesting part of the plot.

The ghost in the movie torments Lucas, Annabel, and Dr. Dreyfuss despite the two having the children’s best interests at heart. They go as far as getting the remains of Edith’s little girl that died in the 1800s to appease her, but the ghost remains attached to Lilly and won’t let the family have peace.

The ghost image was inspired by a spooky-looking painting hanging on Andy Muschietti’s wall, which scared him as a child. The painting by the Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani has the same elongated neck and deformed face as Edith’s ghost in Mama.


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Lucas and Annabel, who suffer the most due to the incident, are portrayed as regular loving people with no ill intent who are just trying to help innocent little girls. Jessica Chastain said in an interview that her character was inspired by the musician Alice Glass.

Lucas and Annabel are portrayed as victims of an evil they had no part in. The movie shows just how badly the pain of one mother’s loss can hurt society, even two centuries later.

Who Stars in Mama?

Annabel Lilly and Victoria in Mama

Mama has a star-studded cast led by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, famous for portraying Jamie Lannister in Game of Thrones. He plays Victoria and Lily’s paternal uncle Lucas. He also plays the kids’ mentally ill father, Jeffrey, who kills his wife and tries to kill Victoria and Lily in the woods.

Jessica Chastain plays the role of Annabel, a punk-rock musician who becomes the guardian of two young girls after they are found in the woods. She tries to provide care for the girls as they transition from their time in the wilderness.

Victoria, the eldest of the young girls found in the woods who becomes the focal point of the relationship between the girls and the supernatural entity, is played by Megan Charpentier.

Finally, Isabelle Nélisse portrays Lilly, the younger sister who has spent most of her formative years in the woods and has a unique connection with the supernatural entity “Mama.”

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