There has been a lot of interest in Darren Aronofsky secretive mother! since it, and the cast, were announced. The project was shrouded in secrecy until the movie premiered at the Venice International Film Festival to wildly divisive audience and critical reactions. When it premiered in the United States, there was a similar reaction; some critics praised it to the high-heavens while others considered it a self-indulgent mess (Rex Reed going as far as calling it ‘the worst film of the century’). Audiences seem to loathe it. Unfortunately, I’d consider myself in the latter camp.
It starts off slow, with two nameless characters played by Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem (on IMDB they’re named Mother and Him; Bardem is an acclaimed writer while Lawrence is a housewife). Jennifer Lawrence and Javier are a couple who appear to be newly married, and Jennifer Lawrence is working on renovating Javier’s house that was destroyed when Ed Harris (according to IMDB, he has a similar name to Lawrence and Bardem, Man) shows up out of the blue, and uninvited. A couple of scenes later his wife, played by Michelle Pfeiffer (Woman), shows up, also uninvited. From there on, the movie slowly descends into chaos, with more and more people turning up uninvited and Javier’s character welcoming everyone with open arms while Lawrence’s character becomes increasingly uncomfortable until, finally, the last act kicks the film into nerve-wracking high-gear but this is also where the movie has a scene that goes so far over the line, I couldn’t ever in good conscious recommend it to anyone.
I understand the movie is meant to be allegorical, I understand what the movie is trying to say, and I understand that Darren Aronofsky’s films have a tendency to be as in-your-face as possible (this is the man responsible for Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream) but there is no reason for such an awful, excruciating, scene. None whatsoever.
Before the movie even had a trailer there was Oscar buzz surrounding the movie on popular forums around the internet but I think now its safe to say that mother! won’t be getting anywhere close to the Academy Awards. Everyone did the best they could with their thinly written roles, but there is absolutely no way that anyone, including Jennifer Lawrence, is coming anywhere close to a nomination for this; the film is way too off-putting and horrific. I don’t even know what to rate this on a scale of one to ten like I usually do. If you thought the last twenty minutes or so of Requiem For a Dream needed to be even more intense and horrible for the characters in that movie, then by all means, go see mother!