Mother! is Darren Aronofsky’s latest film, and it’s a damn surprise that this film has been given a wide release. Knowing Aronofsky’s style, he is the kind of filmmaker that is constantly pushing the boundaries, leading to a shift in audience consensus around what should and should not be shown in a film.
And he definitely pushes the boundaries with Mother! which stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris and centers on a couple who are living in peace in an isolated house when they are visited by strangers, whose presence starts to mess with the status quo (peace) that they have created.
Now it’s difficult to talk about this film in a spoiler-free way without providing a solid review on it, so I will try and reference elements of the film that don’t necessarily tie in with plot, or that have been referenced vaguely in other reviews around the web.
The first issue that many critics had was how over-the-top the film is and how it doesn’t mean much, despite having very intense imagery and allegories. I have to call bullshit on this. Aronofky has done what most filmmakers can not: Merging sub-text with reality to create mythology. This goes beyond allegory, and that is the point!
There’s also the idea that this is a very personal story for Aronosky talking about himself as a creator, and how he interacts with the world, those close to him, and the people who appreciate his work. But like, whatever man.
From a technical standpoint, there’s very little to fault in this film. The broad shots are magnificent, although most of these appear very early on as we are introduced to the space in and around the house. The rest of the film is shot from the point of view of Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Mother which was completely intentional as well as this is how we make sense of the world and the occurrences in the film (or how we are unable to make sense of them). Hopefully I’ll be able to do a spoiler review of this, because I feel like this is the kind of film that needs that. Jennifer Lawrence and Michelle Pfeiffer steal the show with exquisite performances, while Bardem and Harris do well in their roles too.
It’s worth noting for movie-goers who are a bit queasy, that this film has some intense imagery, as well as a particular moment of violence that may be super upsetting to sensitive viewers. If the reports are true, many people in the States actually left the cinema during this segment. I found this to be very effective in communicating the overall message, and the severity of the situation; and sometimes you need to push the boundaries to get a message across. In this case I think it works.
Mother! is by no means a film made for mainstream audiences, and it’s crazy how it got a green light from a studio for a wide release in the USA. This being said, this is great news for original film ideas, in that this sets a precedent for studious taking bolder chances on weird, ambitious films.
Should you see it? Look here, if you don’t like weird things in film, give this a hard pass. If you’re up for something ambitious, crazy and a little bit gruesome, then is is for you. Overall, I think the most people possible should see this, so that it does well enough for studious to keep green-lighting original works of art.
You can watch the trailer for Mother! below:
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