MOVIE REVIEW: “Mother!” stars Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, The Hunger Games), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales), Ed Harris (Run All Night, Glengarry Glen Ross), Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns, One Fine Day), Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina, About Time), and Brian Gleeson (Snow White and the Huntsman, Phantom Thread). It is written and directed by Darren Aronofsky (Noah, Black Swan). A woman (Lawrence) grows weary as unexpected guests continually enter her and her husband’s (Bardem) home. What was once a little mix-up escalates into a great ball of chaos.
If only I knew the director of this was the guy who made “Noah.” I would’ve been able to dodge the bullet. Aronofsky, though critically acclaimed through his works such as “Requiem for a Dream,” “Black Swan,” and “The Wrestler,” can’t seem to create something I can appreciate. Granted, besides this the only other work I’ve seen from him is “Noah,” but the two features are a testament to his latter portfolio regardless. I’ve heard many things about “Mother!,” most bad, some good. However, something drew me into the film. Was it the stellar cast? The fantastic cinematography? Perhaps its complete abstract nature presented by the trailers? It was a slew of these aspects, though nothing could prepare me for the pure, unadulterated mess that unfolded in front of my eyes come time movie night. Before diving into this film (if you were to ever watch it), you must first know that the purpose of “Mother!” is to play out in a form of allegory; nothing makes sense unless you approach it from an angle strictly thematic. What’s the director’s message? That mother nature was screwed over by a weak, flawed God. Yeah… like I said, it wasn’t until after I saw this that I found out the director created “Noah,” one of the worst biblical adaptations I have ever seen. It’s not like Aronofsky wanted to try to make something worthy of the source material anyway; the man claimes to be an atheist who loves to tackle Christian themes, but through his perspective. And that perspective is one I can’t get behind. Pretty much, “Mother!” is a subtle retelling of biblical stories, including characters that resemble Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel, but with a strong core theme that paints God (Javier Bardem) as a being unknowingly letting havoc wreak on the earth without any sign of consequences. He was separated from solving issues, while mother nature (Jennifer Lawrence) was caught in the crossfire of his deadly actions. For anyone who wanted a run-of-the-mill story, you’ll be lost beyond comprehension; for those looking for something deeply rooted in strong, moralistic themes, you’ll be left disappointed. The performances were solid all around, with some of my favorite actors taking the screen to portray characters that are loosely representing ones from the Bible. The cinematography wasn’t too shabby and the location and direction was actually well-done. I thought the slow build-up to the chaotic climax was written well and didn’t leave me thinking it was too rushed or absent of development. Really, it boils down to the content at hand, which was an atrocious misrepresentation of who God is and what He stands for. Obviously, His love for humanity is captured here, but it’s as if He is completely blind to any wrongdoings caused by humanity, when clearly in the Bible God has punished man on so many occasions. Bringing mother nature into the mix tosses any sense of reasoning with this director out the window, however, and to be honest I really don’t see the point Aronofsky is trying to make. I get that man is sinful and harmful to the earth, but when you throw in God and even allude to Jesus (by having people eat a baby nonetheless), it makes personifying mother nature all the more weird and stupid. Mind you, I didn’t pick up on much of this while watching the film; in fact, I was lost right around the second act. I knew that a bigger message was at stake, though I could’nt really pick it out until I read an online essay about it. The analyzation lined up with what was shown on-screen, and interviews with the director only cemented this mindset further. Knowing what he was aiming for, I could’nt be more appalled by what I watched. Even if the meaning behind it wasn’t what I found out, I’d still consider this a flop, solely due to its inability to find its own voice. There’s a lot that goes on in this movie, and it takes a second watch or online research to really pinpoint what was shown. All in all, Aronofsky had something to say, and he spoke it through a completely abstract piece bent on messing with the minds of audiences everywhere. I’m all for thematic flicks, but when the message is something false, I can’t stand behind it. I was hoping for something fantastic to come out of “Mother!,” and while it has a lot of solid aspects about it on an aesthetic or technical level, it fails to hit the mark with the point it’s trying to make. Sorry Aronofsky, but I won’t be sipping on this kool-aid. FINAL SCORE: 40%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: