Movie #343 2020: mother! (2017)

Darren Aronofsky! Requiem For A Dream is one of my favourite films, and Black Swan was pretty great. So this must be pretty similar, right?…….. Right?! This movie has excellent performances, a chilling score, and a pressing message about the issue of climate change, so why did it leave such a bad taste in my mouth?

mother! is a movie – on the surface anyway – about a couple who’s relationship is tested when two strangers turn up at their house. The strangers are played by the ever-wonderful Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris, and they’re both lovely and menacing at the same time. Great casting. The true message of this movie, however, has something to do with the destruction of the environment around us, and Jennifer Lawrence‘s Mother is actually supposed to represent Mother Nature. Yes, it’s pretty on the nose.

mother! is a very polarising movie, and it’s easy to see why. A definite slow burn, and it’s extremely difficult to follow and figure out what on Earth is going on, but it does make sense once you finally realise. Don’t expect it to be easy though; you’ll really have to use brain power to understand it. And who on Earth wants to see a movie that you need a handbook for? No one finishes a movie and expects to be given homework on it, do they? It’s absolutely hedonistic, quite frankly, and Aronofsky should have written a book if he wanted to tell this story to be honest.

Performance-wise, it’s true that the entire cast really throw themselves into this weird vision. I love Michelle Pfeiffer and I love Ed Harris, but I really do not ever need to see them kiss again. Other than that, they were brilliant. Jennifer Lawrence gives a really interesting performance that’s so different to what she usually does, proving that she probably did deserve that Oscar win for range alone. 

Again though, it really comes back to whether or not you want to be this challenged mentally just so you can figure out the allegorical themes and subliminal messaging of a movie. It all depends on your mood, I guess. While it is all very cerebral and has an important message deep down, it’s a very difficult watch despite the brilliant cast. mother! absolutely won’t be for everyone and you can see why this is a Marmite movie. 

In short, although this is well made and the hand held camerawork in an inspired decision, this is just one of those film snob movies that is so overly self-indulgent that it’s way too demanding. It’s a shame because it has the potential to really say something, but ends up just being a bit of a confusing clusterfuck of metaphors that’s really tough to get through.

Avoid it unless you like headaches.

mother! is available to rent on Amazon and the Google Play Story for £1.99 in the UK.

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