Director Darren Aronofsky does it again. Spoiler-free
Once in a while, a movie will come in and push boundaries in terms of theme, subject and presentation. These types of movies open eyes and might even scare us to our very cores, but still in the best ways possible. Then, on even rarer occasions, a film will walk on by and we won’t be able to take our eyes off it – no matter how much we want to.
Such is the case with Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, which stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris.
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In the beginning of the film, Lawrence and Bardem live in a remote house that clearly isn’t nestled near any neighbors. Despite this, Harris one day arrives at their door on the pretense of being told that the house was a bed and breakfast. Bardem invites him in for a drink and then to spend the night and then to stay as long as he would like, much to Lawrence’s dismay. Harris’ wife, played by Pfeiffer, shows up the next day.
Harris and Pfeiffer are not the best house guests. They smoke indoors, enter private rooms and are mysterious to boot. And then more people start arriving, which forces Lawrence to beg for normalcy. Bardem seems to hear her pleas, but that’s when things really start going haywire.
A bloody wound opens the floorboards of the house and an antechamber gets revealed. And it’s at that point that the idea of reality seems to disappear from the movie completely.
The after effects
Mother! has had critics and audiences scrambling for an explanation. Various reviews have dubbed it almost unwatchable and Paramount Pictures even had to issue a statement for why the movie was released in the first place.
"This movie is very audacious and brave. You are talking about a director at the top of his game and an actress at the top her game. They made a movie that was intended to be bold," Paramount worldwide president of marketing and distribution, Megan Colligan, told The Hollywood Reporter. "Everyone wants original filmmaking and everyone celebrates Netflix when they tell a story no one else wants to tell. This is our version. We don't want all movies to be safe. And it's okay if some people don't like it."
Meanwhile, Cinemascore officially gave mother! an incredibly rare F rating. The polling body’s ratings are usually taken as an accurate representation of word-of-mouth marketing.
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Aranofsky has since gone on the record to explain – not defend – mother! The controversial director told Collider that “the structure of the film was the Bible” and that the idea is to “[point] the finger at all of us about what’s going on and what we’re doing and how we’re treating Mother [Nature].”
Mother! is a rollercoaster of a film and it will take a while until we can properly put our finger on it. Is it a must-watch? Yes. Will it be easy? No. But really, what else could we expect from the man behind Black Swan and Requiem For A Dream?
Don’t miss mother! when it hits theaters on September 20 with GMovies.