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Mother! (0/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 2 hours


I got to the screening on the Paramount lot early and was the first one in the theater. When the rep came by to check me in I asked her if she had seen the film. She replied that she had seen it. I asked if it was depressing. She said that it was not depressing, so I stayed, against my better judgment. She has some 'splainin' to do!

Starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, I first thought that this is the most despicable piece of trash I have been forced to sit through in a long, long time.

I’m not alone in my initial assessment. Here’s what leading lady Jennifer Lawrence said when she first read the script, “I threw the script down and said I do not want this in my home. It’s an assault; it’s really assaulting.” She said she has always wanted to work with writer/director Darren Aronofsky, but he is, after all, her boyfriend. So she concluded her assessment with, But that’s what makes it a masterpiece.” Love conquers all.

Aronofsky said in a handout given before the film, “Collectively it’s a recipe I won’t ever be able to reproduce…”

Let’s hope not, as he was inspired by his shallow view of politics, saying that one of the main inspirations for the film was that, “A seemingly schizophrenic U.S. helps broker a landmark climate treaty and months later withdraws…From this primordial soup of angst and helplessness, I woke up one morning and this movie poured out of me.” This type of “inspiration” ("angst and helplessness?" please!) renders much of the intellectual posturing about this nonsensical movie meaningless.

Apparently the movie is intended as allegorical. Before the movie was named “Mother,” the working title was “Day Six,” a reference that the Bible says God created the earth on the sixth day. According to Lawrence the house and she comprise one organism, representing earth, and the story is the beginning and end of civilization. She says the house has a heartbeat.

But it’s also a film about fame and how famous people can become terminally narcissistic, to the exclusion of everything, and everyone, else, including civilization and humanity.

This movie has images that would probably stay with you for a long time if you choose to see it because you can’t get them out of your mind, which is a good reason to stay away from it.

The story is about a loving woman (Lawrence) and a narcissistic husband (Bardem) who is so irredeemably in love with himself it strains credulity to the breaking point until you realize that he is an allegorical character. As are the myriad characters who invade their huge house out in the middle of nowhere, starting with Michelle Pfieffer and Ed Harris who both show up on their doorstep uninvited and unannounced. Why and how all the others show up is never explained, leaving it up to the viewer to make sense of it all. OK, maybe they are allegorical. But what’s the allegory? Nobody knows.

On the positive side, Lawrence gives a wrenching performance, undoubtedly Oscar®-nomination worthy.

This psychobabble is a desolate, dystopian view of society. The ending is as disgusting a stretch of film as you will ever see, unless you are a devotee of horror, as the movie slowly dissolves into phantasmagoric mayhem. Regardless of the pseudo-intellectual "inspiration," content, and meaning, anybody who ventures into the theater to sit through these two hours does so at their peril.