Movie Review: Mother!

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Domhnall Gleeson, and Michelle Pfieffer.

Release Date: 18th August 2017

A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. – courtesy of IMDB

Being Mother! Nature is a bitch


Darren Arronofsky is a divisive director at the best of times, but Mother! may be his most polarising film yet. Audiences have been left confused, critics have either fell on either the lover or hate side, and the box office gross for the film is disappointing.

I myself rather enjoyed Mother! Perhaps enjoyed is not the right word. I found myself appreciating it more than anything else, and in some ways I found it very moving and almost overwhelming. But I will say this: the trailer is not in any way accurate to the finished product. What the marketing shows is a horror/thriller with mysterious, perhaps super natural core. Instead, Mother! is an art-house flick through and through. It’s not going to be one for everyone, but those who are willing to take a surreal, ethereal plunge will find the movie intriguing at the very least.
Mother! Toucho.jpg

It’s hard describing a film that is basically one giant metaphor. Everything means something here – not a detail goes by that isn’t significant in some way. It’s up to us to interpret that meaning, and whilst there is no right or wrong answer, I believe the film is a parable drenched in symbolism geared towards faith, religion, and the environment. And this is something you won’t understand until the final frame of the film, and even then you won’t fully understand it. Mother! insists on reflection, on multiple views, on discussion.

What we have here could be Aronofsky’s most personal film. It’s certainly the most angst ridden/intense experiences that he’s created ever since the soul-crushing marvel that is Requiem for a Dream. Aronofsky has always been a master of layering tension and slowly cranking it up to an almost unbearable level. What starts out fairly idyllic gradually turns into a story of frustration, anger, and absolute chaos. In the last act we are smashed directly into a full on visual assault, leading to some truly distressing moments in a very eerily disturbing atmosphere. If it sounds like I’m being vague it’s because I’m trying my best to be. This is something that is best experienced with your own eyes so that a discussion can be formed afterward.
Mother Jen and Jav.jpg

If you’re not a fan of the film, you have to at least give credit to some incredible performances; mainly from the two leads. Javier Bardem is great, confident and theatrical, but there is no comparison to Jennifer Lawrence. She holds Mother! together. The camera never really leaves her face, making her performance feel that more personal and vulnerable, but the movie as whole very claustrophobic. When things devolve into chaos, you want to escape and take a breath with her but you can because it’s so unrelenting. She sells the anger, the confusion, the hate, the frustration, and you can tell she’s really giving it her all without appearing try-hardy (which isn’t an easy task to accomplish).

" Mother! insists on reflection, on multiple views, on discussion."


Mother! is something that your either going to dig or not. If you’re intro introspective, thought-provoking, conceptual cinema, this’ll be right up your street. If you’re looking to kick back and watch a normal narrative then you’ll be left utterly confused and frustrated (but not in the same way the film wants you to be!). Mother! may be Aronofsky’s most experimental picture to date. It’s risky, bold, and filled to the brim with dread. It’s an experience – so when if you watch it, don’t shrug it off. Let it wash over you.

Rating

80%

Highlights:

+ Fantastic central performances, especially from Lawrence
+ Solid direction, brilliant camerawork
+ Bold, original, and truly thought-provoking

Let Downs:

- Slight pacing issues in the mid-section

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