Darren Aronofsky’s mother! – isn’t a typical box office popcorn chomper. It’s also a film that people come away from spewing hate and spewing love – at nearly equal measures. Why?
For one, what you see happen in the film isn’t necessarily what is going on. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But this isn’t a film taking place in reality. And you should be able to get that from the opening shots of the film which seems to be turning back time, but I could argue it was the healing advancement of time. The film exists on a dream and nightmare plane of existence.
The overall story is simple enough – this is a tale about an artist, his muse, their creations and the destruction of all, for the artist to rise anew from the ashes.
But the film is shot like ROPE and THE RED SHOES gone insane. The camera swoops and the blocking of the film is just… mind numbing to think about. Aronofsky said he was making a rollercoaster – and he knew what he was doing. Right now – it’s beautiful watching this movie breaking people down. It will make you FEEL things, but those feelings of repulsion, of going mad & insane, the feeling of being unhinged and threatened. About being on the outside of a scene that doesn’t accept you. It’s powerful stuff.
So why see it? Because it is a masterful film. If you lock eyes with Jennifer Lawrence and read her mind in this role. The adoring love she has for Javier Bardem… her passion and dedication to rebuilding his home from the ashes. Notice, she never leaves the house. Others do. She’ll get to the front porch and get pulled back in. Her world is that home and that man. Yet he has fame and people tug on him, need to hear from him, invade their home. Touch their things. Live and die in their home.
The film illustrates a cycle of building a relationship and setting it ablaze, of feeling deeply unwanted and unnecessary… disposable and strange. The characters that first invade… Ed Harris and Michelle Pffeifer come barreling through the front doors and with them comes drama like you’re not prepared for. But also know – you can laugh through the whole thing. It’s wickedly funny in deep dark ways. Much like Jonathan Swift’s MODEST PROPOSAL. Satire, allegory, visual metaphors – often leads to some folks to throw their hands up with a FUCK THIS kind of reaction, but ohhhhh… the sweet sweet extremes of art. Art not meant for all audiences, but for the audience to find it.
If you’ve ever found a film that you grabbed a hold of because… it was exactly like nothing you’ve ever seen before. There’s moments in this film as a Pregnant Jennifer Lawrence - Mother – whilst having contractions of labor – seems to boil the very emulsion from the frame like FIGHT CLUB, there’s absolute insanity upon this screen of the sort you’ve only seen in things like TIME BANDITS and APOCALYSE NOW and CLOCKWORK ORANGE – not those things – but this is a rollercoaster that will 2-wheel its corners and shoot fucking sparks to shower the acceleration of fear. It is Chaos Theory unleashed like a Mad Hatter’s Ballet.
This is an absolute fucking classic of extreme cinema. The sort of film that takes 20 years for some to catch up to. A film that many are getting on board from the ground floor, and Aronofsky spins me right round baby, right round like a record baby, right round round round!
Watching this multiple times will be wildly rewarding. Like SPACE MOUNTAIN – when you know the banks, the acceleration, the lights and the shadows. The more you ride, the better you thrill!
I remember when FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS came out – there was a critic that loved the novel, but in Gilliam’s hands, they just rejected visually being trapped in Hunter’s trip. Some people are squares and this is a round house tale.
This is a movie that demands you feel, to empathize, to engage. The more you do so, the more you’ll fall madly and deeply. This possibly is the most exciting and thrilling film that Darren Aronofsky has created. It’s an artist at peak powers. It is the leading contender for best cinematography that I’ve seen this year. Just dazzling stuff.
As Halloween approaches – it’s great to have this and IT in theaters. Both exceptional thrills, chills and lots of laughs. “mother!” plays like a haunted house that pretends to be alive, but never truly is… after all… it’s just glorious art! Pulsing with blood & water & smoke! Tongues drenched in blood and flames! This is Aronofsky’s Divine Comedy. It is profane and wild and wooly! This film is off the traditional maps of sanity – and that’s just terrific. Go on the ride, the world will be a different flavor of madness upon your exit. But damn if you’re gonna shake this film off. It’s a monkey – and god help you if you hate monkeys. Monkeys rule!
Go, if you dare.
Keep it cool,