Monday, September 18, 2017


Remember what I was just saying about screen addiction and my brain turning to mush?  Yeah... I'm going to come off like a pretentious douchebag, but I fear for the movie-going public of America if all of the 1-star reviews for Darren Aronofsky's mother! on IMDB are any indication.  Because so many people (including some in our screening) didn't seem to get the movie on any level, I'm going to ignore the surface-level story and talk about it as the metaphor that it is instead.  Although I'm confident that my old cast of regular readers here would be able to understand what's going on as the movie unfolds, I'm going to ensure it.  I wouldn't consider anything I'm about to say a spoiler.  These aren't twists; this is simply the context you need to understand to make sense of the movie.  Otherwise, you will find it hard to get any enjoyment out of it.

mother! tells the complete history of the Earth in microcosm, using various Biblical allusions to help mark the passage of time.  Don't worry, you don't need to be steeped in too much Biblical knowledge -- a basic understanding of the stories of Adam & Eve and Jesus are all that is needed.  God (Javier Bardem) is living in blissful tranquility with his wife, Mother Earth (Jennifer Lawrence).  They're all alone on Earth (their enormous house), and it's Mother Earth's job to build and maintain their domain ("building a paradise" as she says).  God is portrayed as a poet, who's had one great success in his career (Creation), but now has writer's block.  He begins to have a new idea when suddenly Man (Ed Harris) comes to the door; this is Adam.  I have confidence that you can take the rest from here.

The reason none of the above is a spoiler is because just playing "Spot the Metaphor" isn't what the movie is about.  There are a few different ways to read mother!, which I'll leave as an exercise to the viewer since that's where all the fun lies, but I tend to fall in line with Aronofsky's preferred reading.  You can watch his short Q & A from the screening at the Toronto Film Festival, if you want to know what that is.

I am a huge fan of Darren Aronofsky.  There's a reason that Meaghan and I chose him as the first director in the Decker Director Series.  I like to be entertained as much as the next person, but very few people today are able to use the Hollywood machine to create multi-layered movies that take some actual work to tease apart and fully understand.  We all need to be challenged sometimes, and Aronofsky consistently does this.

mother! is a fantastic movie.  Much like The Fountain, I can understand why it isn't for everyone... but it should be.

1 comment:

Brian said...

If anyone comes here wanting to talk about mother!, we can do it down here in the comments. Since it's brand-new in theaters, I didn't want to talk about specific plot elements so soon after its release.