- US Release: September 15
- Runtime: 1 hour 55 minutes
- Directed by Darren Aronofsky
- Written by Darren Aronofsky
- Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer
Rating: 6 stars – Outstanding!
A poet (Javier Bardem) struggling with writer’s block and his pregnant wife (Jennifer Lawrence) find themselves dealing with troublesome, unexpected guests as they are refurbishing their house in the countryside. Soon, inexplicable events begin happening within their home, somehow tied to the presence of these strange visitors and their obsession with the great poet.
Mother! is beautiful filmmaking from start to finish. The acting is superb, the script is excellent, and the cinematography is breathtakingly luxuriant. Mother! is also a film that contains some incredibly powerful themes and messages, which will undoubtedly put off many viewers who don’t like “preachy” movies. Make no mistake, the director of this film is speaking to the audience with this picture.
Cleverly, Aronofsky doesn’t name any of the characters. There is mother, Him (the great poet), the man, the woman, the publisher, the son, the other son, and so forth, clearly parallels to religious stories and figures, but also highlighting the irrelevance of who they may be. Actions are more important than identities, and in this film, actions speak volumes.
I found this movie to be expressively profound and technically brilliant, but I can certainly understand why the film generates so much debate. Those who just want to be entertained by a horror film will be seriously disappointed. The religious allegories are definitely going to offend many people, which is too bad, because it seems to me that the film is intended to be thought-provoking rather than belligerently offensive.
Mother! is a film everyone should see, but unfortunately not everyone will truly appreciate. I don’t mean that as a judgment statement at all, only to emphasize that this is one of those films that is truly dependent on the eye of the beholder. It’s a harsh, unblinking view of our reality and a scathing criticism of our rationalizations for the damage we cause to our world and each other, but it is not without hope. Instead of “the world is thus,” Aronofsky seems to be saying, “thus have we made the world.” That implies the possibility of change.
I can live with that.