Earth Mama Review

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike movies like Earth Mama wouldn’t exist.

Gia, played by Tia Nomore, is watching her children play in a sterile-looking room while being observed by a social worker. When the time for her visit is up her son hugs her and does not want to let go. Gia tells the social worker multiple times that he does not want to go but little by little her son is taken away from her. Due to past addictions, Gia has had her two children taken away from her. She is pregnant with her third child and is doing all she can to ensure this child is not taken away from her. How can Gia get her children back when it seems that the odds are against her?

Earth Mama shows a mirror to the struggle of single black females that are fighting the foster care system to get their children back. We follow Gia as she goes to work taking pictures of happy families knowing that she is trying to have one of her own. We see her hang out with her friend Trina, played by Doechii. Trina attends the same reunification classes. While Trina is her best friend she does annoy Gia with her talk about religion which turns as the story continues.

Courtesy of A24

Throughout the movie, we get moments of women in the reunification class telling their stories. Some of these stories are heartbreaking with mothers talking about the social anxiety they might have passed down to their child. One mother talks about not caring what anyone thinks of her. These moments feel too real as if you are sitting in a real class. Gia does not participate much in class even when Miss Carmen, played by Erika Alexander, calls out to her. Gia feels that she is a good mother and does not need these classes to get her kids back.

Throughout the movie, we see the struggles that Gia is going through. From hearing how much money she has left on her prepaid phone, asking her manager for an advance on her pay, and hiding from the social workers that go to her house. Gia may be written off by those that do not know her but she is doing everything she can to make a better life for herself and her unborn child. I will admit there are things that Gia does that I do not agree with but i completely understand why she does these things.

While Earth Mama tells us Gia’s story we also see how the foster care system fails the children that it is meant to protect. Like we hear stories from the mothers in the reunification classes we get a moment where a few men are talking about how being taken away from their mothers. These stories are also heartbreaking and a small glimpse of what could happen to Gia’s children if she does not get them back.

Due to Gia’s situation, she is told about the option to give her daughter up for adoption. This subplot of the adoption introduces a new world for Gia where her children can grow up in a better place. The adoption also causes a rift between her and Trina. Trina feels the system will do anything to separate young black mothers from their children. Gis has come to a point where she does not know if this is the right thing to do or if she is doing this just to survive.

Courtesy of A24

Final Thoughts: Earth Mama is a story that needs to be seen to understand the struggles that we do not see. People are so easy to disregard a single pregnant mother who is overcoming addiction without getting to know why they are in the position they are in. The story of Gia gives us an insight into this world and we are able to see how the obstacles are stacked up against her to fail. Earth Mama needs to be seen by everyone to see how we can make changes to a broken system.

Kid-Friendly: Earth Mama might be triggering for children that were raised in foster care. I would recommend this for children 16 and up.

Violence: There is no violence in the movie but there is bad language throughout the movie. There is one scene of drug use that is hinted at but not shown.

With two children in foster care, Gia, a pregnant single mother pitted against the system, fights to reclaim her family. In her close-knit Bay Area community, she works to make a life for herself and her kids, in this singular debut feature from filmmaker Savanah Leaf. A glowing breakout at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival starring Tia Nomore, Erika Alexander, Doechii, and Dominic Fike.

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