Directed by: Darren Aronofski
Starring: Jeniffer Lawrence, Javier Bardem
Mother! is not what the trailer depicts in the slightest. I liked it anyway.
That said, it’s an incredibly difficult movie to talk about without spoiling, so I actually have no hard feelings about the marketing. I have no idea how else they could do it without spoiling the entire experience. So if it sounds like I’m tripping over eggshells in this review, that is why.
The director, Darren Aronofski, is most famous for the excellent Black Swan. Mother! and Black Swan are similar in that they use a great number of figurative elements, having the on-screen actions as acting as completely non-literal metaphors or allegories.
The difference? Black Swan has elements of both the literal and the figurative. Mother! is, from start to finish, all metaphor. It’s honestly pretty shocking to see what effectively constitutes an art film nabbing such a high marketing budget and Jennifer Lawrence, but that is certainly what it is.
So. A metaphor for what? I won’t say. The absolute best part of the film for me was when I figured it out, but that only happened after about 90% of the runtime, and for the friend I saw it with, after the credits started rolling. For this reason, you might not enjoy the film – it’s hard work. I spent most of the film with a furrowed brow, just trying my best to figure out what the hell was going on. Once it hit me though… I can honestly say I haven’t enjoyed rethinking and reinterpreting a movie so much in years. But then, I’m a film nerd. So take that with a pinch of salt.
Jennifer Lawrence did a great job. Not only her performance, but the way that the camerawork and writing constantly kept her as the central focus of the film, and as the audience surrogate as she seems to be the only character at all who acts with any level of rationality. Despite her strange purity, her character is very relatable in that if all this crazy shit were happening to you, you’d be just as confused and upset. If I have one complaint about her performance, is that I still can’t detach the actress from the role, and even though I think she acted better than in any other film I’ve seen her in, I think the role would be better suited to a lesser known actress.
I liked the way the film constantly fed subtle clues as to what it’s all about, but never enough to fully explain itself until you connect two key dots, and then it all unravels. The film is pretty damn cynical, which I feel some may interpret as pretentious, but I personally did not.
If your idea of a good time at the movies is to sit back and relax I’d avoid Mother!, as it’s quite hard work. But if you don’t mind having to think when going to the cinema, then I recommend it! I think you’ll get a lot out of it, both during the film and after the credits roll and you’re discussing with whoever you saw it with.