I finally got around to seeing Mother! this past weekend. I’m not really a fan of the horror genre and wasn't sure what to expect. Most recently, I read a review written by Candice Frederick on Vice, exploring the film from the angle of Mother’s introverted nature and was so genuinely terrified, I considered not seeing it. As an introvert, just the thought of strangers invading someone’s home…well, let’s just say there were moments during the film that I found myself silently screaming “Get the f*ck out of her house!”
For the most part, however, I felt that Mother (Jennifer Lawrence) wasn’t so much of an introvert as she was trapped by her love for Him and the visceral connection she has with the house. Aronofsky’s execution of close-ups and extremely tight tracking shots adds a suffocating, isolating and neurotic energy to the film, that is paired perfectly with subtle and amazingly distinct layers of sound. It is clear that Mother has no life or existence outside the house.
Mother’s husband (Javier Bardem) is a writer who appears exhausted and uninspired by her. He needs her love and “loves the idea that she loves him”, but needs more to create. Craving inspiration, he welcomes strangers into their world, choosing them over Mother, believing that this sacrifice is one she should be willing to make. The bottom line is, If an artist cannot create, they cannot be happy.
And so, inspired by the chaos that unfolds due to the crazed interaction with these uninvited guests, he pens a masterpiece that garners international recognition, making Him a literary marvel, idolized by fans that show up at his home. Again, he choses the strangers over Mother who, once again violate their home and ergo violate Mother in the worst imaginable way. These sequences are over the top and incredibly orchestrated and reminded me of the frenzied dragging that occurs on social media when celebrities share their personal lives with strangers.
There is so much to unpack from Mother! that I feel like I need to see it at least once more to fully digest it, but I can say with certainty that it ranks highly amongst Aronofsky’s body of work. There were a few moments where things slowed down a bit too much for me, but the performances (Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer) made up for that. Ignore the negative reviews and go check it out before it gets to DVD. This is definitely a film to be seen in the theatre.
Photos courtesy of Paramount Pictures