Mother! movie review

Stephen Simmons, Staff Reporter

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Darren Aronofsky, director of “Requiem for a Dream” and “Black Swan,” is known for his surreal, experimental approach to filmmaking and “Mother!” is no different.

Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, credited as “Mother” and “Him,” star as a married couple living in a large, secluded house. Him, a famous poet, spends his days struggling with writer’s block while Mother works meticulously to renovate every inch of their country home. Mother’s devotion to the house mirrors her devotion to Him, though his primary focus is to write the perfect poem and please his fans. This struggle is only heightened when unexpected guests, played by Ed Harris and Michelle Pfieffer, disrupt the couple’s routine. Him takes an extreme interest in his guests when he discovers they admire his work and this begins to take a toll on his marriage.

“Mother!” has a consistently frantic pace that gives it a thrilling and sometimes unsettling tone. The frequently shifting point of view instills in viewers the feeling that something is lurking around every corner, even during the peaceful scenes. The plot is loosely structured and may be disappointing to those looking for a clear storyline. Most of the events that take place in the film work to substantiate themes instead of plot.

Themes and symbolism keep the movie interesting when the plot can become too difficult to follow. Jennifer Lawrence’s role could be seen as a critique on gender roles. Her character’s appearance is judged by the people around her, constantly ignored, hated and called derogatory names when she expresses any frustration. The blissfully neglectful and abusive way the guests treat the house represents Aronofsky’s feelings as an environmentalist about how humans have mistreated the Earth. There are also religious themes throughout, such as the way Him is treated by his devoted fans.

The exclamation mark at the end of the film’s title is a warning to viewers of the madness to come. Some of the most bizarre scenes involve bleeding floorboards, exploding lightbulbs and a human organ in a toilet. “Mother!” may be difficult to watch for viewers who are not interested in the horror genre or who prefer a straightforward plot. The film contains several graphic scenes that may be considered unnecessary and difficult to watch. However, anyone who is looking for a new movie-going experience or who already enjoys Aronofsky’s unique style will likely be satisfied.