Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! is an experimental horror film unlike any other and quite comfortably earns the “it’s not for everyone” tag. If you’re seeking conventionality, don’t even bother watching Mother!. It’s jam-packed with shocking imagery and possesses a nightmare quality.
When Mother! was released last year, pretty much everyone came away with their own interpretation. The most prominent conversation was about its meaning and message, not so much about whether it was good or bad. For those who’ve seen Mother!, you’re probably still trying to make sense of it. It’s an audacious film, overloaded with allegory, surrealist satire, and featuring themes of parenthood, artistic creation and fan culture.
I don’t intend to watch Mother! again. One viewing of this intense, disorientating movie is enough. Its genius, however, is something I can’t ignore, so I’ll be reading every article and fan-theory until the end of time.
The film stars Jennifer Lawrence as a young woman living in a remote house with her poet husband (Javier Bardem). It’s just the two of them and the characters have no names. Lawrence’s character attempts to make their home perfect and performs every domestic task while her husband wrestles with his latest work. Soon, an unexpected guest (Ed Harris) arrives at the house, who is later joined by his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer).
Up until that point, you might have thought Mother! was an eerie melodrama. It’s when more and more strangers start turning up the house that you realise something sinister is going on. There’s so much suspense, mystery and moments of sheer terror in Mother! It’ll prove too disturbing for many, especially when it culminates in one sequence so brutal that you’ll be questioning Aronofsky’s sanity.
Mother! has a lot to say, almost too much, but it’s an absolute beast of a film. It connects with your psyche and has you squirming in discomfort all the way through. That’s the terror and the fun of it.
Written and directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Run Time: 121 minutes.