MOTHER! (2017) – My rating: 5.5/10

Mother is a demonic horror story written and directed by Darren Aronofsky.  I really dislike horror movies, especially demonic horror movies but I watched this one to settle a dispute about the subject matter.  Jennifer Lawrence stated the following:   the film is an allegory: “It depicts the rape and torment of Mother Earth … I represent Mother Earth; Javier, whose character is a poet, represents a form of God, a creator; Michelle Pfeiffer is an Eve to Ed Harris’s Adam, there’s Cain and Abel and the setting sometimes resembles the Garden of Eden.”

Instead of GOD, I saw Lucifer. Instead of just Cain and Abel, I also  saw Jacob and Esau.  I didn’t see Adam or Eve, as the Devil only interacted with Eve, then Eve with Adam, in Mother the opposite took place.  I have no thoughts on Mother Earth and I saw no beauty in their home or wallpaper that would reflect the Garden of Eden. In fact, I found the whole analogy insulting.

Mother opens in a house that has recently been burned by fire, Him (Javier Bardem), an acclaimed author struggling with severe writer’s block, places a crystal object in a pedestal. Upon placement of the crystal object, the house transforms to suddenly look newly renovated, while in a bed, mother (Jennifer Lawrence) is ‘formed’ magically and wakes up, wondering aloud where Him is. She starts seeing questionable visions around the house that are unsettling, including visualizing a beating heart within the walls.

One day, man (Ed Harris) shows up at the house, asking for a room. Him happily agrees while Mother reluctantly follows suit. During his stay, Man experiences prolonged coughing fits and Mother catches a glimpse of a fresh wound by his rib area before her husband covers it with his hand. The following day, Man’s wife, woman (Michelle Pfeiffer), arrives, expecting to stay as well. Mother is annoyed with her guests, while Him begs her to let them stay, telling Mother that the guests are fans of his work and that the male guest is dying, and wanted to meet Him. However, when Man and Woman accidentally break and shatter the crystallized object, Mother decides to kick them out.

Before leaving, Man and Woman’s two sons arrive and start to fight over the will their father left. The oldest son (Domhnall Gleeson), who will be left with nothing, mortally injures his younger brother (Brian Gleeson), and flees, while Him, Man, and Woman take the injured son to get help. Upon returning, Him informs Mother that the son has died. Dozens of people begin arriving at the house for a wake for the dead son. More people arrive, and behave in a way that bothers Mother; she becomes angrier and eventually snaps when they flood the house. She kicks everyone out. Angry with Him for allowing so many people into the house for his own pleasure and ignoring her, she berates him before the two have sex.

The next morning, Mother announces that she is pregnant. The news leaves Him elated and inspires him to finish his work. A few months later, Mother prepares for the arrival of their child and reads Him’s newest piece, which is so beautiful it drives her to tears. Upon publication, it immediately sells out every copy. In celebration, Mother prepares dinner for him when a group of fans arrives at the house. As she barricades herself in her home, more fans arrive and begin to enter the house to use the bathroom. Their behavior devolves into stealing their belongings as keepsakes, and disrupting the environment. An increasingly disoriented Mother makes her way around the house as each room devolves into chaos.

At this point, you’re either hating or loving this deranged movie.  It’s confusing, and unclear as to why Him is allowing this madness to occur.  Things are heating up and the scenes that follow are nothing less than despicable.  The second set of so-called-fans make the previous set look like angels.  Mother ends up giving birth in all the chaos.  The military arrives, rituals begin, the house is destroyed and the unthinkable happens.  There is no rhyme or reason to this film, except a mixture of evil vs innocence and naivete.  You’ll meet the ending with a mixture of anger, frustration, confusion and horror.  Mother puts senseless killing, and poor judgement in a place it shouldn’t be and allows us to take a look at a darkness that not only scares us but brands us helpless.  Not a good place.  Not a good movie.  I’m surprised at all the stars that consented to participate in this story of pure evil.  Not a good feeling, not a good time to share.  See Mother at your own risk!

NOTES:  Aronofsky said that the title’s exclamation mark “reflects the spirit of the film” and corresponds to an “exclamation point” of the ending. The director discussed the film’s unusual capitalization in a Reddit AMA, saying, “To find out why there’s a lowercase ‘m’, read the credits and look for the letter that isn’t capitalised. Ask yourself what’s another name for this character?” The characters’ names are all shown in lowercase, except for Him.

The lighter which appears throughout the film bears the Wendehorn, a symbol believed to represent “the cooperation between nature’s eternal laws, working in effect and in accordance with each other.” One of the film’s unexplained elements is the yellow powder Lawrence’s character drinks, which The Daily Beast suggests is a reference to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper”.

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