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mother! - Movie Review

2 stars

The woman’s face blisters.  It peels.  Flesh falls and the flames wrap all around the skull.  The neck bursts as the heat ripples the skin.  Over and over you watch the skin bubble.  It’s fierce.  You’re frozen with fear.  What the hell am I watching?, you think to yourself and then you look around.  What the fuck are WE watching?  Well, to be clear, it is Jennifer Lawrence and, yes, she is burning to death. 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the opening shot of Aronofsky’s semi-apology to all those who have worked with him.  mother! will be, IF people actually go see it, one of the most polarizing films of the year.  Undoubtedly. 

This is the new shit, eh?  ¿Qué?

mother! is a (not-quite) horror movie in which writer/producer/director Darren Aronofsky (Noah, Black Swan, The Wrestler) showcases his skills at creating striking visuals with a bit of shock and a whole hell of a lot of madness.  It is a combination that doesn’t always work.

Love it or leave it, there’s really no actual “liking” this offering from the sticky floor of the sanitarium’s slaughterhouse.  It’s dividing art, meant to cause reaction.  While original, it is definitely a maddening exercise as mother! develops into a uniquely disturbing self-portrait of an artist as an absolute asshole. 

This is a movie full of metaphor.  And the more surreal that the allegories are, well, the more graphic they become.  Shock and awe is the name of Aronofsky’s game.  Most of this madness could be interpreted as an ode to the creative process (which is probably what it is) and, if true, then it makes for dark implications concerning men and their egos. 

And the women shall suffer for HIS art.

Don’t even try to recover from the flame broiled beginning as mother!’s insanity is set in stone thanks to what happens afterwards when Javier Bardem places a smooth gem on a base, which then inspires new life in the home that these two agents of doom and gloom share.  Hold onto that image, though.  It’s bound to repeat itself.  And, truly, this is the movie where Rosemary’s Baby meets Groundhog Day.

In mother!, Lawrence and Bardem offer themselves to us as a married couple who live in a big house (or is it paradise?) that, oddly enough, is very much alive.  Bardem is a writer.  We get that much.  Lawrence is his merry homemaker. And, as the writer goes through the process of writing and wanting to share everything with his fans, Lawrence devotes her time to the home…

…and their lives are thrown into a tizzy when Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer arrive at their organ-thumping residence.  For fuck’s sake, even the goddamned toilet is buzzing with life in this exasperating circus and, as Lawrence tries frantically to flush some mysterious red dotted tissues from the bowl, the whole toilet becomes a limbed beast.  No plunger is going to beat back that which is most foul and hellish.

And then there is the showcasing of Him and Mother’s eventual baby. 

I mean, seriously, if this story isn’t – at its very inception – at least partly a knee-jerk response to Aronofsky’s critical bashing of Noah then I surrender.  “I give so much for my art!”  This is a movie borne from fires of frustration and works best hung somewhere in a museum.  And, honestly, the bible becomes a sort of Rosetta Stone in trying to figure out this flick’s message as a baby is lifted up by grabbing hands and then is feasted upon by a mob who wants more and more from their icon.  Nom nom nom.    

This freak fable is explicit in its imagery but not so much with anything else.  Okay, so we aren’t supposed to take this movie literally, but c’mon now, it might dazzle in its first half hour but, after that, you’re left naked, alone, and utterly helpless.  Can I phone a friend, Regis? 

mother! is a lot of things but soul encapsulating poetry it is not.  The psychodrama is fun merely for the horrible images it upchucks onto the screen.  The rest?  Babble babble bitch bitch.


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mother! - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R for strong disturbing violent content, some sexuality, nudity and language.
121 mins
: Darren Aronofsky
Darren Aronofsky
Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris
: Horror
seeing is believing
Memorable Movie Quote: "You give, and you give, and you give. It's just never enough."
Theatrical Distributor:
Paramount Pictures
Official Site: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialMotherMovie/
Release Date:
September 15, 2017
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: a couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. from filmmaker darren aronofsky (black swan, requiem for a dream), mother! stars jennifer lawrence, javier bardem, ed harris and michelle pfeiffer in this riveting psychological thriller about love, devotion and sacrifice.


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mother! - Movie Review