• Guy Jeffries

Mother! SPOILERALERT Review


Director: Darren Aronofsky.

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Harris, Brian Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson.

As soon as the credits rolled, there were two things I was certain of. One, the enriched biblical connotations of this film and two, this was going to be a very difficult film to write about, impossible even, to write about it without spoiling or influencing a non-viewer's opinion, yet, I needed to write it up and get it posted as quickly as possible.

Aronofsky writes and directs what is again, a film marketed as a psychological horror that isn't at all frightening bar a couple of jump scares. Though the film is disturbingly visceral at times, which is aided by his shooting style of being in very close proximity of the story's subject. It visually forces the audience to see the story develop through the character's perspective.

Our subject is the titular Mother, who is redecorating their house while her husband struggles to write his next masterpiece. It isn't long before the couple are interrupted by some uninvited strangers that the husband welcomes into their home with Mother having no choice but to accept the decision. What quickly follows is a vivid chain of events, none of which are comforting.

I don't know if I got lucky, or if it was just clear as day to me. But the biblical overtones immediately struck me and my version of what I saw just got layered and layered, confirming my own interpretation as the film went on. I can only imagine that if this doesn't happen for viewers, or maybe it doesn't hit them until half way or at some other point in the film, maybe even until the end when they realise, they will leave either totally confused or if the latter, possibly wanting to revisit to finally understand what they didn't before.

Take what you will from this film, it's certainly going to effect and mean different things to many people depending entirely on their perspective and understanding of the bible(s) or their religious stand point. There's so much symbolism, it's like watching one of those subliminal Derren Brown videos where one person sees something completely different to everyone else. And much like the bible or other religious scriptures, everyone is likely to walk away with their own interpretation of what they saw, though this is in no way religious by any means, but instead it paraphrases and characterises key parts of the Bible.

Like today's combined bible, it's split into two parts, firstly the old with the allegories of Adam and Eve's banishment from the Garden of Eden, the jealous rage of Cain and Abel, followed by an apocalypse and the second half being the new, with the birth of the Son of God and how humanity loses it way and inflicts war, crisis, poverty, idolisation, crime; embellishing everything negative of the modern era, even religion. And it's all done in such violence that it might make you feel like the dirtiest, sadistic species on the planet.

It questions humanity and makes us a metaphor as uninvited guests that have, quite evidently defiled, stolen from and ravaged the Earth so disrespectfully some people could even walk away from this a little offended. But what Aronofsky tells, it's a brutal and historical truth about mankind as a whole, losing our way distancing ourselves from our maternal natural world.

It was originally titled Day 6, the day that God created man before he rested but with the clever name change, the film becomes something a whole lot bigger. Not only does it play out the relationships between God and man, and the most focal, the martial relationship between God and Earth. It's most incredible accomplishment is it being more than a story that personifies God and Mother Earth, but, whether by purpose or accident, it becomes a feminist story, especially, as usual with Aronofsky, telling the story from the subjective narrative of Mother and not Him. There was a number of times I thought about the sacred feminine and that it's Earth that bears us the fruit of life when watching this.

I'm still undecided about Lawrence's performance, whether it's the story's topic that has put me off or if it's my inability to see pass her stardom as an actress. I'm leaning towards the subject matter because I feel the same about Bardem. They're both difficult roles to play and possibly characterised by they own interpretation of the script, which leads me to believe neither are totally exclusive to this. What I mean is that I can see other actors/actresses playing the parts, in fact, because of the sheer magnitude of the characters, it would be interesting to see a vast number of actors/actresses play out their versions. With other films I might like the idea of one other actor play a role, whereas with this, I think I could write a lengthy list.

Jóhann Jóhannsson did the score, if there is one because I certainly didn't notice it and I love Jóhannsson's work. But the sound mixing and editing is amazing throughout with some dialogue purposefully just out of earshot whilst other noises are so pronounced, they're almost deafening and at times, horrific.

For some, it may take a few viewings to get the most out of it, some will simply not ever want to watch it again. Myself, I got what was given and that is enough for me. It's definitely a conversation piece that might convince perplexed viewers to watch again after hearing the theories of what it's actually about. Whatever the outcome, this film will be one for the discussion boards with extreme polar opinions.

It's one symbolic giant allegory of biblical proportion. Paradoxically surreal and powerfully profound that is likely to keep many heads spinning for days after watching. Just don't go in expecting it to be a terrifying horror film otherwise you will end up disappointed or worse, bored. I often wonder if they purposefully advertise the film as horror so to trick people into seeing it. Both a bold and deceptive thing to do inciting wrongful criticism. "This isn't what I ordered.. how comes the burger doesn't look like the picture on the menu?"

Running Time: 7

The Cast: 7

Performance: 7

Direction: 9

Story: 7

Script: 6

Creativity: 8

Soundtrack: 5

Job Description: 5

The Extra Bonus Point: 0

61% 6/10

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