A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. From filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream), mother! stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer in this riveting psychological thriller about love, devotion, and sacrifice.
I think I’m just now realizing that Mother is going to be a very difficult movie to review without giving away a bunch of major spoilers. And trust me on this, Mother is not a film that you will want to see, or even enjoy to its fullest, with having it explained to you first. It’s also a very intense film that will likely offend a lot of people or just leave a bad taste in their mouths. The thing is, I totally understand that also. Mother a self-contained story in which you should be able to appreciate Aronofsky’s vision and his approach to storytelling, which is just amazing here. Even though most will be offended, I have to say that I immensely enjoyed it.
The acting is incredibly well done, the cinematography is excellent, and I loved the fact that this film demands you to actually think for a change, instead of presenting the concept on a silver platter. I liked that it didn’t depend on loud noises and cheap jump-scares to keep me invested. Instead, the story builds suspense by telling us just enough to pique our interest. I will admit that the pacing can feel slow at times during the first hour, but there was more than enough to keep me hooked.
Mother! starts off normally enough, and our main character, played by Jennifer Lawrence, wakes up to find her husband is no longer in their bed. It’s a beautiful old-style country home that she is doing extensive renovations on. Lawrence is actually re-doing the house herself, and her husband, who is played by Javier Bardem, is a famous poet who is undergoing a very long writer’s block. There seem to be some growing tensions in their marriage, but it also seems pretty mundane. One night there is a loud knocking on the door, and Bardem invites the complete stranger, played by Ed Harris, into their home and seems to immediately develop a weird and close relationship with the man. The relationship, for whatever reason, does not include Lawrence.
The camera now focuses on another figure standing inside the door, and we learn that this is the stranger’s wife, who is played by Michelle Pfeiffer. She also seems to have shown up, unannounced and unexplained and practically invites herself in. The woman of the house (Lawrence) is now beginning to get a little upset by the whole ordeal. Once inside the house, the invaders profess themselves die-hard fans of the Poet’s work. Everything at this point on is a complete madhouse, and giving any more information now would give away too much and explain the things that you really need to see for yourselves. You’ll see that the woman of the house is now having to fight tooth-and-nail for her husband’s attention, as he’s consumed more and more by the adoration of this new couple. And yet more people begin showing up, all in defiance of her patient pleas and protests. The fuller the house gets, the more it literally begins to drip blood.
Mother! definitely delivers many unexpected shocks and goosebumps, obsessing its way into something resembling a horror film. It builds on oddities, one right after another, growing in intensity. It is downright unsettling and disturbing, and you’ll likely spend a lot of time with the movie having no idea what’s going on, or just flat out trying to figure it out. We see everything through Lawrence’s eyes, and as her confusion and alarm grow, so does ours. As the movie arrives at its last third, it truly goes completely insane. It descends into seeming extremely chaotic and gets very uncomfortable. There are a few very difficult scenes where people actually got out of their seats and left. If you’re comfortable sitting down to watch a film with virtually no preconceived expectations and have a strong stomach and lots of patience, then you should be thoroughly rewarded with this one.
Release Date: September 15, 2017
Runtime: 2 hours, 1 minute
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Drama
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer
MPAA Rated: R
Directors: Darren Aronofsky
Reviewed by: Sarah Hopkins
Our Rating: 4.0 /5
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