Mother!, 2017, 3 ¾ stars

Mother-f*#!er

Aronofsky shoots a nightmare

Image copyright Protozoa Pictures / Paramount Pictures

Exclusive to MeierMovies.com, September 19, 2017

Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! is a fever nightmare, a horrible, powerful amalgamation and reinterpretation of the films of Roman Polanski, Luis Buñuel and John Cassavetes, not to mention Aronofksy’s own Black Swan. Metaphorically addressing such topics as creationism, objectification of women, claustrophobia, lack of control, death and rebirth, motherhood and the parasitic nature of humanity, the film almost defies explanation and flirts repeatedly with “art film” excess. As with most movies, what you get out of it depends on what you bring into it, just more so with Mother! This intensely emotional, handheld-camera extravaganza practically feeds off your own fears right up until its tornado-like (thought slightly too long) conclusion. Like it or hate, you will be affected by both the film itself and the performances of Jennifer Lawrence as “mother” and Javier Bardem as “him,” not to mention supporting turns by Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer, and Domhnall and Brian Gleeson as both real-life and cinematic (Cain and Abel) brothers.

The baggage I brought to the film was labeled “introversion,” and I experienced an almost unbearable suffocation when confronted with the dinner guests from hell who would not leave and would not stop vandalizing Lawrence and Bardem’s house, which becomes a living, breathing, bleeding character. Like Lawrence, I felt violated, intensely disrespected and devalued. And then that violation turned to anger, and finally to horror.

Copyright 2017 © Cameron Meier