I decided to re-watch Darren Aronofsky’s Mother today for the 3rd time, mainly down to my father not having seen it yet. I remember seeing it in cinema and not knowing what to think of it, my thoughts were all over the place and I struggled to figure out whether I liked it or not. It took three viewings for me to finalise my thoughts on the movie. Mother is one of the most bizarre movies a studio has released in years, Aronofsky is a director that doesn’t shy away from controversy. Simply watch his Requiem for a Dream or Black Swan to see this. This is a great type of Horror as it’s completely metaphorical with it’s approach, is mostly bizarre and adds some horrifying scenes for more than just simple shock value.
Jennifer Lawrence plays a woman living in a remote house with her poet husband (Javier Bardem) Their names are never mentioned throughout the movie and only go by Him and Mother. One night an unexpected guest (Ed Harris) arrives at their door step, mistaking their place for a B&B. Soon after inviting him to stay the night, his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) arrives looking for him. Lawrence soon realises she has let something far more cynical into her house than just two simple strangers.
Darren Aronofsky knows how to make dark subjects look so beautiful. Mother is no exception, most of the shots in the movie are tight in on Lawrence presenting her point of view to the audience. We follow her for the entirety of the movie, rare do you get a shot without her in and this makes for an intense experience at times. A lot of people might consider her character boring, for me I found her extremely interesting. Her character never seems to get one shed of happiness, she’s a prisoner trapped in the confines of her own home, never being able to step outside. At its core this movie is about the male ego, Lawrence is the one trapped by this ego. She cooks, cleans, does the laundry, plumbing, all whilst her husband barely lifts a finger. Sometimes people want more from you than you can possibly give. Look past all the metaphors and this is the true meaning at the core of everything. Its all helped by the lack of a musical score, it’s all driven by mundane noise, doors knocking, walls creaking, foot steps. It’s much more jarring because everything we’re hearing is real.
Even the final act, which everyone seems to dislike I find incredibly enjoyable and interesting. So much happens at once and all the shocking scenes actually have a meaning behind them, which makes them even more disturbing when you find out the reality of it all and what it all means. You may get all of the biblical references in the movie, I certainly didn’t which is why I was mixed when I first saw it. However, my second viewing I had done all my research and I liked it more the second time around. Third time and I still find it an incredible movie for what it tries to accomplish.
Overall, Mother is a love or hate it movie. Its most certainly not for everyone and there’s one scene that’s so brutal it’s guaranteed to upset a lot of people. It did a group of people who I recall being in the cinema with. I highly doubt I’ll be forgetting this movie for a long time. The only real issue I have is the movie tries to tell maybe just a little too much. Everything to do with the Bible is fine but when it leaves the biblical text behind and focuses more into the historical record I wasn’t a big fan. Although it did make for one incredibly tense few scenes.