mother! Is the latest film from acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky, and boy is it creating a storm around it. The first thing that needs to be said about mother! is that it is an extremely hard film to categorise, but it certainly isn’t the horror film that most of the trailers are portraying it as.
Instead mother! is a hard film to talk about without spoiling at all, because it is such an allegory from start to finish. If you don’t pick up on the allegory then you will quickly become lost as mother! descends into weirder and wilder territory as the film goes along. The problem is that as mother! goes into these crazier places a lot of the allegory loses the defter hand that it had at the start. It starts to beat you over the head with the obviousness of the allegory leaving you to almost groan at its lack of subtlety.
The core message and theme of the film however is about humanity, and its effect on the Earth. From the start the strangers that arrive in Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem’s character’s house treat it and her with a lack of respect, and begin to destroy the innocence there in ways that escalate throughout the film. The third act of the film does go completely off the rails and some of the violence and heinous acts that are committed are hard to watch. However a lot of these are portrayed in such a cold matter of fact way, not to mention in such quick flashes, that it is hard to truly connect to most of them.
Despite all of this you cannot doubt Aronofsky’s skill as a director in making the film. His filming makes mother! an incredibly claustrophobic and personal film. He uses a lot of handheld camera work, and over the shoulder shots, which add to the level of intensity. This feeling is helped by a wonderful performance by Jennifer Lawrence in the main role, as she absolutely shines, and really portrays her increasingly distressed state of mind leading up to the insane finale excellently. The supporting cast, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Ed Harris all give strong performances as well, but this is Aronofsky and Lawrence’s show.
mother! is such a hard film to talk about without giving too much away, and similarly it’s a hard film to recommend because it has proven so divisive. Personally I found the allegory within the film to be far too in your face, and completely unsubtle, something which definitely detracted from the film, and left the actual message about how we are treating the planet to get lost. But mother! is certainly a film worth seeing to make your own mind up about, especially given how much debate it will cause.