Written & Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfieffer, Ed Harris.
Darren Aronofsky’s film Mother! can only really be described in one word: bizarre. It is probably the strangest film to ever come out of the world of Hollywood. From a man who was behind great productions like Black Swan and Requiem For A Dream, arts and controversy is definitely something he hasn’t shied away from in his movies. “Mother!” can be quite baffling at times, and with no real subject matter, you can almost get lost in the actual story very easily. What we do know is it centres around the subject matter of encountering people who want more from you then you can possibly offer.
Mother! entirely takes place at what we can only assume is an isolated house, where characters named only Him (Javier Bardem) and Mother (Jennifer Lawrence) reside. He is a former writer who’s lost his passion to create and Mother has spent her days remodelling the home that belongs to him. One night there’s a knock at the door, and from what you can tell of the visuals, these characters are miles from civilization, and Mother makes it quite clear that visitors aren’t welcome. In enters Ed Harris’s character identified as only Man, and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Woman, who plays Ed Harris’s wife. A story you think is starting to develop here as Javier invites these new guests to stay the night, much to Mother’s disapproval. Javier’s willingness to have them stay is driven by the fact that Harris is a long time fan of his writing.
From this point, to say the movie gets strange would be a massive understatement, as the story shifts drastically. Jennifer goes through a mix of extreme emotional climaxes, from dissatisfaction and frustration solely as a result of Javier and his neediness to create, and she endures it willingly because of her devotion to him. This where the chaos starts to begin as Michelle and Ed’s two adult sons turn up unexpected, and begin to fight, resulting in not only damage to the house but also serious injury to a character.
The craziness starts to ramp up at this point with Jennifer falling pregnant, and Javier gets the inspiration to write again and his new work is an instant success. Their child’s birth and new found fame coincide with each other as legions of fans begin to turn up at their house. In what should be celebrated as a moment of joy turns into an ever increasing situation of horrific torments. The movie goes from a simple storyline to an ever-ascending apocalyptic nightmare as Aronofsky’s vision showcases the destructiveness of the artist’s vanity, that goes hand in hand with the destructiveness of the crowd, in which an artist becomes a public figure and then gets consumed by the members of the audience who draw upon him for a sort of sustenance and gratification.
Without a doubt Mother! is very exaggerated, and the underlining subject matter of this story takes a lot of analysis and consideration as it’s not easy to dissect. Aronofsky’s imagery portrays boundaries that divide an artist from his family and partner, whilst feeding his vanity through love, fame, and accomplishment as his partner goes through a world of torment and anxiety until she completely self-destructs. If you go into this movie expecting a typical horror film then you will be greatly disappointed, but I can almost guarantee you will emerge confused, haunted and almost assaulted.