|Mother 2017 Poster|
The premise is simple enough, but the details are where things get really murky. The story follows a writer who is struggling to come up with his next hit book, and is having a hard time. He is living in the middle of nowhere, the woods, with his wife, and they are living a quaint lifestyle. But then a stranger shows up and throws a wrench into their world, only to have his wife come in and step all over their life, and ruin a set piece that is the life blood of the story. Things continually get out of hand, as the story unfolds and you find out that people are starting to discover that the famed artist and writer lives there, which then prompts chaos as the movie goes on. But if that’s not enough, the main characters go through a pregnancy, and delivery of a baby, only to have it worshiped by the followers of the poet, and beyond. But that’s only glossing over the surface, because this movie throws you into a centrifugal forced loop before dropping you off in another dimension, as only Arnofsky can do.
Javier Bardem was in this movie where he played a man dying of cancer in “Biutiful”. I loved that movie, and this felt a lot like that performance. He was brooding, emotional, and it seemed like he was dying again. Jennifer Lawrence was squarely in this movie, as the camera had her reactions, face, and much more for a lot of it. Even sequences that were meant to be blistering, and shocking, showcased her face and the transitional elements of computer graphics, alongside her face and aging process rather than stepping back. One reviewer said this was claustrophobic, and I tend to agree.
There’s no music. That threw me off. There’s a lot of Foley work, and a lot of scary moments with blood, cursing, and nightmarish situations that all pose to be alliteration to many tales of religious ceremony. I can count all of them, but you only get them if you are religious or are a scholar of any sort of divinity. If you’re not, then you’re going to think this movie is about the creative process, or about marriage, or about mother Earth. There’s so many symbolic elements, and yet nothing really prepares you for what seems like a lazy bit of writing at the end.
Like my review of “Time Crimes”, I think this is a good movie as a stand alone tale. However, it falters in that it is very pretentious, on the edge of preaching to the audience, while inserting so much symbolism that it loses connection with the audience many times. It’s a long movie to watch, and one that will grab your attention, but it is not horror, it’s not really scary, and you really have to be an intellectual to grab all of the things that Arnofsky is throwing you at you.
Mother! Will either bore you, or make you think long after it’s over. For me, it made me bored, then made me think, before I gave up on it again. It’s not a bad movie, it’s just not horror, and to me, felt a lot like an Italian Art House picture instead of a major film from the states. It’s not bad, it’s just not as good as some people think.