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Reviews

Film Review: Mother!

The phrase ‘that escalated quickly’ is an understatement for the finale of this psychological drama flick.

By JOHN BLACKBURN

Darren Aronofsky, director of surreal films like “Requiem of a Dream” and “Black Swan”, returns to the big screen along with actress girlfriend Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardeem in his new psychological drama film. Lawrence stars as the quiet and shy Mother (yes, that’s the name she’s given) whose lives with Him (yes, that’s the name of Bardeem’s character), a poet with writer’s block. Both are trying to create and build their dream home together away from society in an isolated forest. However, things start to go downhill for Mother when a few strangers, played by Ed Harries and Michelle Pfeiffer, stay uninvited at their house.

Leaving the theatre after seeing this film, I would officially say without any hesitation that this film is definitely not going to be for everyone. It’s not really much of a horror film, but it did leave an impact on me as I thought about the themes discussed. It does contain a lot of disturbing and uncomfortable imagery at an insane pace, however only in the last act, and I believe some people will think this a step way too far. Despite the insanity though, I still thought the story was well written as a creative but obvious allegory about creativity, the evolution of humanity and the impact they leave upon the main character’s “home”. It could be open up to other interpretations too, such as exploring the life and struggle of a creative artist, or what being a workaholic or a creative person can do to the people who love you. Furthermore, the acting from everyone, especially from Lawrence, was really incredible. There were many moments where I found her actions and anger were justified and convincing.

While I understand Aronofsky’s desire to convey the film as being of a subjective point of view, this doesn’t require the majority of the shots, especially from the beginning, to be framed incredibly up-close. I imagine that these type of shots would be better used during intense moments in the last act, not from the first ten minutes. Speaking of which, people may understandably become bored with the slow pace of the first half, with the last half having the  majority of the insanity mentioned by other critics. The last half also features a random cameo that I felt was miscast and quite pointless (I won’t spoil anything here, but you’ll know when you see it). Furthermore, there are a few tiny nonsensical plot points in this film that aren’t explained entirely.

Mother! will attract a specific audience. For me personally, the film pretty good, but also flawed in some areas. Like any film with a deep message, it did make me leave the theatre thinking about the issues explored, which were also delivered with great performances and an interesting story. But it also had a dull first half filled with unsuitable framing, and some moments in the second half that would make some people think excessive. If you want to see an art-house film that involves an obvious allegory on the impact and evolution of humanity upon the earth, and you also don’t mind complete insanity in the finale, this would be for you.

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