The film was shot on location in Duluth, Minnesota at the Glensheen Historic Estate. In 1977 the Glensheen Mansion became the site of the infamous murders of mansion owner and prominent heiress Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse.
A very pregnant Francesca (Patty Duke) travels from Los Angeles to Minnesota to meet her late husband's mother, Mrs. Kinsolving, whom she has never met before. Mrs. Kinsolving (Rosemary Murphy) is cold to Francesca, questions whether she is actually pregnant with her son's baby, and tells Francesca she wants nothing to do with her or her baby in the future. It soon becomes clear that Francesca cannot leave that night as a blizzard has made the roads impassable. Francesca is forced to stay in the Kinsolving mansion for a few days. She soon begins to suspect that something is amiss due to inconsistencies in information between what her late husband (Matthew) told her and Mrs. Kinsolving's statements to her.
While Matthew never mentioned he had a sister, Mrs. Kinsolving claims that the mentally challenged and non-verbal Kathleen (Sian Barbara Allen) is Matthew's sister. After Mrs. Kinsolving retires for the night, Francesca sneaks around and discovers in the family Bible that Matthew's mother (Maria) died eleven days after Matthew was killed in the Vietnam War, that Mrs. Kinsolving is actually Maria's sister in law, Katherine, who is Kathleen's mother and the mother of Kenny (Richard Thomas), a serial rapist and murderer who is hiding somewhere in the Kinsolving mansion. Francesca goes into labor, but Mrs. Kinsolving refuses to call for an ambulance. She sedates Francesca heavily. When the baby is born, Mrs. Kinsolving announces it is dead and hands the baby over to Kathleen to bury.
That night, Kathleen rouses Francesca and takes her to the attic where she finds Kathleen has hidden her baby (who is actually very much alive) in a picnic basket. Mrs. Kinsolving, suspecting Francesca is sneaking around the mansion, locks her in her room. Kathleen is able to locate the key to the room and unlocks it, allowing Francesca to care for her baby. One night, Francesca secretly spies the unsuspecting Kenny who is hiding in the basement laundry. She overhears his conversation with Mrs. Kinsolving, and it is menacing. Meanwhile, Mrs. Kinsolving discovers that the family Bible has been opened to the page detailing the date of Maria Kinsolving's death. Mrs. Kinsolving informs Kenny that Francesca knows Maria is dead, but does not think she is aware that Kenny is hiding in the mansion. The next morning, Mrs. Kinsolving announces that the blizzard has cleared enough for a driver to take Francesca into town to take the bus back to Los Angeles.
At breakfast, the driver arrives—and it is Kenny. Francesca quickly tells Mrs. Kinsolving that she left her gloves in her third floor room and she needs to retrieve them. Instead, she gets her baby from the attic, hides the baby under her coat and flees the mansion. However, Mrs. Kinsolving spots Francesca running away and yells for Kenny to get her. He takes chase, and Kathleen notices. Francesca sees Kenny is quickly gaining ground, and she darts into the carriage house in an attempt to elude him. He locates her, they struggle, and he knocks Francesca unconscious. The baby slips from under her coat. Kenny smiles sadistically and covers the crying baby's face with his hand. Suddenly, Kathleen sneaks up behind him and stabs him in the back with a pair of scissors. The film ends with Mrs. Kinsolving cradling her dead son as Kathleen and Francesca, holding her baby, look on, and help arrives.Patty Duke as Francesca Kinsolving
Rosemary Murphy as Mrs. Kinsolving
Richard Thomas as Kenny
Sian Barbara Allen as Kathleen
Dennis Rucker as Red Cooper
You'll Like My Mother opened October 13 1972, expanding to New York on October 20, 1972.
The film received mixed-positive reviews by critics who singled out the performers and the film's claustrophobic atmosphere. Roger Greenspun of The New York Times gave the film a middling review, writing:
You'll Like My Mother, the ads tell you, is a thriller—as if with a title like that you needed to be told—and it is a thriller of a fairly conventional, comfortably old-fashioned sort. Filmed in the dead of winter in a marvelous old mansion with cluttered firelit rooms, carved wood staircases, a secret attic hideaway, an ancient family Bible in the library, a coach house full of carriages and sleighs, it all but immerses you in castoffs from a rich and deeply rooted past that most of us can only dream of remembering. It also fails as a movie, but not dishonorably, and not without scoring some local successes along the way.
Variety, however, gave the film a positive review, which read: "You’ll Like My Mother is a quietly intense thriller spotlighting excellent performances by Patty Duke and Rosemary Murphy. The film avoids explicit physical gore, instead stimulating intellectual and unseen menace." Time Out's published review of the film notes: "Johnson's direction tends to lay on the spooks a bit heavily, while the over-familiar situation (with echoes of Rosemary's Baby) is a further strait-jacket. That said, though, several risky scenes are brought off with some aplomb."
TV Guide gave the film three out of five stars; in their review of the film, they called it "An intriguing, tautly directed thriller," noting: "Much of the impact in this thriller comes from the atmosphere provided, particularly that of the snowstorm. The performances and direction were also essential in overcoming a script so dependent on contrivances."
Scream Factory announced released the film on Blu-ray for the first time in May 2016. As of 2017, the Blu-ray had grossed USD$47,313 in sales.