Darren Aronofsky, the modern day mindbender of mindfuckery cinema strikes again with mother!. I sit here writing these words not having a clue what to say about this movie. From the redeye inducing imagery to the ear-piercing sound design that is a character all its own, mother! is a beast unlike any other. As the credits rolled I just stared replaying the final 40 minutes in my head and a predominant thought overtook my mind, “I can’t believe what I just saw. I can’t believe this was put to screen.” This thought is from a positive perspective but nonetheless still wholly unbelievable. Make no mistake, this is masterpiece territory I’m talking about here.
From everything I had heard leading up to my own experience with the film I was made to believe the overall message is obscure and overlooked easily if one isn’t paying attention. While the underlying themes and commentaries aren’t ever directly faced they are unquestionably used to beat the audience over the head with. Aronofsky set out to make a film with something serious to say and without outright shouting it, his message is excruciatingly apparent and stone-solid in his belief in what it is he’s trying to say. While many details can be interpreted differently I believe the main point is altogether clear and ready for anyone watching and willing to listen.
The characters are not exactly what one would call people, but rather representations in human form of more abstract concepts. This is a play of sorts with everything being said about large scale issues and are represented in a small format shown in the most visceral, unrelenting manner possible.
What is this film to me? I believe this is a giant mirror facing the ugliness of mankind and our haphazard galavanting as we destroy everything in our path. It’s about the limits of our world being tested to its absolute breaking point where in the end, our existence is not only unwelcome, the world is actively taking steps to rid itself of the human virus called mankind. In this path we take sides among ourselves despite the end goal being very much the same. We take certain beliefs and alter the smallest, most minute details and suddenly use this as a catalyst for our own self destruction. Even when most believe in a higher power, they squabble over the meaning of said higher power’s existence and why and who and where until nothing of merit is left. In some misplaced need to win an unwinnable battle, many are left on the outside looking with disbelief and disgust at those that claim superiority simply because of a book or doctrine. Many (not all) preach peace and a promise of paradise and only deliver judgement and shame. It is also a commentary on the fallible characteristics of the so-called infallible. All of this happens at the expense of our only home.
This is an unabating forceful shove into hell without leaving the sanctity of the main character’s personal oasis. It’s a perversion of that which they hold most dear and it is brutal. Jennifer Lawrence is the driving force of this ghastly tale and her eventual epiphany is a betrayal of all that she once and still loves, namely her husband and manic attention whore played powerfully and scarily by Javier Bardem. Together and simultaneously somehow spread so far from one another, they face an unceasing wave of chaos and violence that can only be described as nothing short of abhorrent.
This movie will be talked about with no detail left unturned for decades to come. Debates of theme and purpose will be continuous and most likely never really resolved unless Aronofsky himself airs everything out with no room for further interpretation. I doubt he would ever do such a thing but if he did it certainly won’t be happening anytime soon. This is a film of deeper meaning using a sort of placeholder approach for larger, philosophical topics of existence and human consequence that can’t be portrayed on film with any kind of direct approach and still manage a level of entertainment. I can’t really say with any real clarity if you will like this film. I have heard both sides of the coin on this one. It’s a masterpiece, it’s a disaster; I’ve heard it all. This is as divisive a film as they come but for my money it’s at least worth the admission price to find out which side of the aisle you fall on. For myself, I loved this film from start to “holy shit!” finish.
Rated R For: strong disturbing violent content, some sexuality, nudity and language
Runtime: 121 minutes
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 5/ Acting: 5/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 5
OVERALL: 5 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes
Check out the trailer below:
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