As long as there have been movies there have been films that have stirred up controversy and divided audiences. Birth of a Nation in 1915, Triumph of the Will in 1935, The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988, pretty much the entire horror exploitation genre of the 70’s. In recent years, especially in horror, the trend continues and it is sometimes divided between film content and film style. In 2015, The Witch drastically divided audiences with some claiming it was a brilliant and terrifying tale, while others called it slow and uneventful. Director Darren Aronofsky is no stranger to controversy with pretty much every one of his films dividing audiences. His new film, mother!, maybe be his most ambitious and controversial yet.
A couple (Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem) living in a secluded house in the country. The man is a once famous poet and the woman is meticulously restoring their old home, his childhood home, to its former glory after a fire. When the man invites a cryptic visitor (Ed Harris) and his strange wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) to stay, the woman has trouble dealing with the bizarre chaos the strangers bring with them, threatening their delicate sanctuary.
mother! is a film that will spark hours of conversation after having friends over for a movie night. The whole film is symbolic, of what you can decide for yourself but it involves themes of mankind, God, evil, destruction, nature, and much, much more. The performances are astounding across the board, but especially by Lawrence, who perfectly conveys everything her character is experiencing and much more, often with only facial expressions. The rest of the cast, Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, all put in amazing work but aside from Lawrence the star of the film is Aronofsky’s camera work and Philip Messina’s incredible production design, especially in the last third of the film that will undoubtedly send many viewers reeling. Moreso than most movies, mother! is an experience and even if you don’t like it or ‘get it’, it is an amazing accomplishment in storytelling on film. It made me emotional, angry, confused and in awe. It’s not very easy for a film to do all of that. Very highly recommended.