Darren Aronofsky’s newest film, “Mother!,” has a lot it wants to say. The most important thing is that you stick around long enough for it to finish its sentence. Think you can make it that long? You might not, but you’ll still pick up some nice nightmares along the way, all for the price of a ticket and some popcorn.
There are spoilers ahead. You probably knew that because, hey, it’s a review, but to keep the emotional angst at a minimum, please know that there are, indeed, spoilers ahead.
What kind of movie is “Mother!”? A psychological thriller or a horrifying suspense? Forget the idea of this movie belonging to a genre and just prepare to be freaked out.
You’ll want to look away, but you simply won’t. This movie is not for the weak-of-heart, and it features scenes of true helplessness and powerlessness. Think of the anxiety you would feel being held against your will while all around you everyone acts like everything is fine and laughs while your dreams go up in flames.
“Mother!” is an allegory; everything you see on the screen represents something deeper, and none of it is very beautiful. Go in with an open mind because the parts of this movie that will stick with you the most aren’t in any of the trailers. In fact, forget the trailers. In this movie, nothing is as it seems – which is kind of the point – until finally, at last, the truth comes out in a flash.
Here is the top-secret hint that might guide you along the way: Adam and Eve.
“Mother!” has a lot more to do with Genesis than you might think. Don’t expect to be preached at; expect for your entire thinking to be questioned. The dark side of humanity is brought to the forefront for the two hours you must stare at it.
“Mother!” should almost be addressed as two movies. There are two distinct parts, with the opening act building up slowly and frustratingly to the explosion and crash of the finale. To say that watching this film is exhausting is an understatement. You’ll be covering your eyes while also desperately wanting to look. The failure of communication and lack of understanding among characters will make you want to scream at the screen. Strangely enough, some parts might make you laugh, but probably not for the right reasons.
The introduction of Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris’ characters is done in such an ill-explained and sudden manner that it was agitating to watch. For much of “Mother!,” the action moves slowly uphill. The people on their phones during the movie would likely attest to the difficulty of watching it.
Jennifer Lawrence’s appearance for much of the film is almost too perfect. Her hair always manages to look thrown together … with the help of a couple stylists. Her character is supposed to represent purity and simplicity, but it’s not simple to look perfectly groomed all of the time.
The cinematic build in this film is no joke. That build, though, takes its sweet time. An hour into the film and there still didn’t quite seem to be a point. None of the characters are appealing. The seemingly perfect marriage between Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence’s characters shows cracks from the beginning.
To sum it up, this film tells you it has something important to say, takes an hour to start talking and then shoves so much blood, pain and insanity down your throat that you’re still choking as you walk out of the theater. It is not for the weak-of-heart and definitely leaves a rancid taste in your mouth long after you have left the cinema.