Jennifer Lawrence as Mother
Javier Bardem as Him
Ed Harris as Man
Michelle Pfeiffer as Woman
Domhnall Gleeson as Oldest Son
Brian Gleeson as Younger Brother
In theaters September 15
5 out of 5
In an idyllic setting an author with writer’s block and his wife live in happy isolation until one night a mysterious man comes to their door, mistaking their house for a B&B. with nowhere to go, Him (Bardem) invites Man (Harris) to stay the night. The next day his wife, Woman (Pffeiffer) shows up making things even more awkward and tenuous. Mother wants these people out of their house because they’re disrupting their peaceful existence. Him wants them to stay as they claim they have nowhere to go and he’s hoping that having them in the house will spark his creativity to write again. They are disruptive. Man who is a “fan” of Him’s writing is terminally ill. He wanted to meet Him before he died, and Woman is a languorous boozer who sticks by her husband while she’s not trying to undermine Mother’s attempts to keep her happy home. The more and more Man and Woman exhibit unseemly behavior the more Mother realizes she’s losing her grip on their idyllic life. Him brushes aside her concerns like they don’t matter as he’s certain everything will be fine, but it’s not fine. soon the couple’s bickering children, Oldest Son and Youngest Brother show up and begin arguing over their dying father’s will. This conflict has dire consequences that causes Mother’s world to continue a downward spiral into the psychological depths of hell and there is seemingly no way out.
A lot of people are not going to like this film, because it will require them to think and most people don’t like to do that when it comes to their entertainment. Mother! much like Darren Aronofsky’s other works (Pi, Requiem For a Dream, Black Swan) is a head trip. Literally. We see and feel Mother’s fear growing day by day as she continues to try to keep her sanity in a world that it’s clear she has no control over. A world in which she continues to give and give and give. People are also not going to like this film because I think the trailer gives you a certain impression of what the film is going to be which is somewhat different. Kind of a bait and switch if you will.
Joyce Carol Oates once said that: “Art should provoke, disturb, arouse our emotions, expand our sympathies in directions we may not anticipate and may not even wish.” A lot of people are not going to like this film because it is art. I challenge anyone to watch this film and not be provoked, moved, or disturbed by some portion of it.
With MOTHER! Aronofsky has created a maddening visual allegorical horror story. The characters have no names, just designations: Mother, Him, Man, Woman, etc. This is a cautionary tale on society, climate change and carbon footprint (seriously) as well as a statement on the artist and what they go through in the creation of their work. the self-doubt, the fear, the arrogance, the lies they tell themselves, the relationships that suffer, the sacrifices they make, the mistakes.
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. MOTHER! is someone’s insanity, but exactly whose? Mother earth? Mother of creativity? The beginning and ending of all life? This film encompasses so many themes it’s hard to keep your wits about you when things start coming at you left and right. You won’t even fully begin to understand what you have just seen until the final moments of the film. If you like your entertainment to challenge you, I encourage you to see this film. But be warned: This movie will make you uncomfortable. It’s not a “popcorn movie”. You’ll have to work for this one. What will you come away with? Well that’s what art is all about, isn’t it? Everyone takes away something different and the conversation begins.