This is a film of overpowering confusion with endlessly ridiculous themes
There is no doubt that Darren Aronofsky set out to become as divisive as possible with Mother! It’s setting is bizarre and claustrophobic, and it’s characters are purposefully ambiguous and irritating. This is a film of overpowering confusion with endlessly ridiculous themes.
A young woman (Jennifer Lawrence) lives in a lone house, isolated in the countryside with her poet husband (Javier Bardem). Their life is peaceful until a strange couple (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer) force their way into the woman’s life. Buoyed by her want for peace, she rejects all the outsiders bring, except she can do nothing about the waves of outsiders about to enter her home.
Being able to follow the story is about as difficult as Jennifer Lawrence’s character finds life: a continuous flow of undeniable ambiguity. Every moment has the sense that it has been placed into the film with incredible precision yet, there is often no explanation or even a hint towards their meaning. It’s a precise film, with no meaning.
Or does it have incredible meaning? There’s an obvious line running through the film, with an astoundingly predictable story, but the way it goes about its business is the real deal breaker. Mother! is in no way a clear piece, but its intentions are interesting if the ideas that come forward are the ones intended.
There is a drastically slow pace marring most of the runtime, and it just proves that there is a big difference between building to a climax and being undeniably boring. On the journey it sets out, it raises a high level of genuine anxiety which has to be praised, in both its speed and its ability to ramp up the extremity levels almost instantly.
Mother! is violently over the top, painfully out of touch with its meaning, and takes many of its themes to levels of pure stupidity. However, the is a clear method behind the mess that the film often is. The direction itself is seamless and precise, and Aronofsky’s vision is glaringly apparent, even if it doesn’t make complete sense.
Mother! is a mess with a purpose, yet there’s just no guarantee that the purpose will ever come entirely clear.