Mother! - 2017
Mother! is written and directed by Darren Aronofsky. He is probably best known in the “mainstream” community for his work in Black Swan and Noah, and in the “arthouse” community for The Fountain and Requiem for a Dream. While many consider this movie to be somewhere in the middle between the two camps, I would put it more towards the arthouse crowd. It stars Jennifer Lawrence as Mother and Javier Bardem as Him. Their home and life is thrust in to chaos when a couple, played by Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer, arrive at their doorstep.
I went to see this movie in an almost completely empty theater, contrasting my experience when I watched It last week where there was no seat left. It was me, an elderly couple, and another gentleman. I was completely transfixed by the movie, the man chuckled every now and again at the craziness on screen and the couple walked out of the film about half way through. My screening is the perfect reflection on how this movie has been received by critics and how it will sadly be received by the general audience. The marketing will certainly not help it, since its being sold as something it’s not. This movie is most certainly not for everyone, but it will generate conversations between movie fans, essays (both written and in video form) and maybe even be studied in school. Not every movie, loved or hated, can say that.
So, I will try my best to put in to words everything I have in my head about this movie.
The structure of this screenplay could be a turn-off for many viewers. Darren Aronofsky said in a recent Reddit AMA that he wrote the screenplay in a span of five days. He described it like trying to remember a vivid dream. This is certainly the best way to describe this screenplay. Aronofsky took us by the hand and walked us through one of his vivid dreams. Not all the scenes perfectly flowed together and upon a first time watching you get somewhat lost in the purpose of them all. By the end you are left reeling, trying to piece everything together, hoping to make sense of the dream he just shared. There are many ways we can interpret this movie. From a study of fame, male ego and motherhood to a study of Mother Earth and humanity’s relationship with God. While you can argue there isn’t one clear cut way (I have mine) of looking at this film, you can’t deny that there is meaning and purpose behind everything you see.
Fair warning, this movie can be graphic and overwhelming at times, but never for shock value. When you detach yourself from the moment you gain appreciation for the meaning of the scene
I both loved and hated how Aronofsky decided to shoot this movie. This movie is 100% through the eyes of mother. The camera is either following her through the house, close-up of her face, an over-the-shoulder shot or in a POV from her perspective. There was almost a dance to how the camera always found a way to go from following her through the scene and landing in an over-the-shoulder shot. We as an audience don’t get to breathe for most part of the movie as we are seeing all of this unfold and we are just as lost and confused as mother is.
Quick note: Aronofsky decided to go with no score or soundtrack. Making every sounds and moans of the house and characters be the music and tone of the movie.
As for the acting, I’m going to divide and conquer the couples. First, let’s talk Jennifer Lawrence as Mother and Javier Bardem as Him. This is by far their best performances in a while. I haven’t been this impressed by Bardem since his work in Biutiful. His ambiguity towards everything that was happening made the movie for me more interesting, since Lawrence was so scared, confused and angry at everything. I wanted to know why he was acting the way he was acting. I wanted to understand his character more, thanks to how vulnerable and raw Lawrence’s character was. They complemented each other beautifully. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them passed over by the Academy due to the “controversial” nature of this movie.
The second couple would be Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer. I haven’t been so in love with Michelle Pfeiffer since her work in Batman Return as Catwoman. Her presence and demeanor just draws in the audience from the very first second she steps on to the screen. She is sexy, malicious and sometimes annoying, but it’s definitely one of the best aspects of this movie. Ed Harris is solid in his role, I have zero complaints about him. He is just overshadowed by the rest of the cast.
Mother! is another great entry in to the resume of Darren Aronofsky. While his movies may not always be a box office or critical success, you can always see the talent and passion behind them. This is will be an incredibly divisive movie and it may take years for it to receive the praise I feel it deserves. I’m going to be thinking and digesting this movie for weeks to come and that’s why I love movies.
Mother! is currently playing in theaters. Go and watch it. Let me know who you are out of the three examples in my screening.
If you like this review let me know in the comment section down below. Also, follow me over at Twitter (@yILovemovies) or over on Facebook, so you can be up to date with all my reviews.