Saturday, Dec 16, 2017
On a disturbance scale, Mother! falls somewhere between other Darren Aronofsky films, Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, with a story more comparable to Noah combined with an all-out assault on social etiquette and political correctness that creates the strangest kind of satire.
In a movie of characters' without names, Jennifer Lawrence plays the titular mother. Wife to a famous poet, played by Javier Bardem, she single-handedly rebuilds their house which has been lost in a fire. She paints, builds, and decorates all day long while he attempts to write. Quiet and secluded, their existence is not without mystery as he coddles a strange crystal artifact and she self-medicates strange physical symptoms. They seem to be a happy, loving couple, until a stranger (Ed Harris) arrives, and her self-control begins to unravel. The strangers wife (Michelle Pfeiffer), his family, and all their conflicts soon follow. As these stranger's arrive, her husband begins to make strange decisions, inviting them to stay in their home without consulting her, sharing intimate details with them about their relationship, and being unpredictably confrontational. The strangeness escalates as the new house guests impose themselves upon their hosts without any seeming regard for social etiquette and norms. The house guests cause more and more problems for the hosts, until it escalates so dramatically that you spend the latter stages of the film trying to decipher what the film is really about.
Like much of Aronofsky's work, this is a strange and uncomfortable film. A constant air of mystery, made me want to know the story behind these strangers, why her husband is acting so strangely. You certainly don't get conclusive answers, but the questions kept me engaged as I just wanted to know what is going on. Ultimately, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what Mother! is supposed to mean and I feel differently about that type of reaction on a case by case basis. In this case, I have enjoyed thinking about this movie and trying to unpack it, but a light, fun film it is not.