Mother! is unlike anything I have ever seen but at the same time, felt familiar. The familiar thriller tropes are all there and the idea of weird things happening in an old house are well documented in film. This is where the familiarity really ends and the true beauty or ugliness, depending on how you feel about this film, begin.
I will state that I am refusing to actually give a rating to this film, a first for me. I don’t think any sort of numbered assessment will do it justice, I need a second or third viewing and also I don’t want my score to influence your thought on this movie. You must go into Mother! with a clean slate and open mind. People looking for a run of the mill horror or thriller will walk out disappointed and disturbed, people walking in looking for answers might not even make it through to the credits
Do say this film is divisive is an understatement. The studio is already turning the divisiveness and hatred into an advertising scheme of its own. Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem’s names are not enough to save the financial numbers of this film, so why not embrace the outsider label.
To truly explain my feelings and this film as a whole I have to go back to the only time I’ve ever left/been taken out of a theater. It was during a family trip to see Black Swan with my older cousin, younger sister and grandmother. I was around 15 at the time and didn’t really care one way or the other about the film, my sister and cousin wanted to see it. It was directed by Darren Aronofsky, who directed Mother! as well, and the previews showed it as a horror movie starring two decently known actresses (sound familiar?). Little did we know and to my grandmother’s distaste and shock, the movie was actually a psychosexual Freudian nightmare of a film and it took until the lesbian sex-scene for her to drag us out of the theater. A re-watch at an older age led to a better understanding but still some general confusion and weird feelings towards the film, something Aronofsky is infamous for.
So that brings me to the theater with two of my frequent movie-going companions who happened to see the Mother! preview at an It screening. They weren’t sure of what to expect but believed it was a horror movie of sorts due to its advertising. I tried to warn them to be expecting the unexpected but they weren’t fully prepared. I smiled at the absurdity of the film and the many, I repeat, many allegorical references and themes throughout as the movie truly went off the rails in some parts. It was all we could talk about after leaving the theater though and I definitely can’t say it was a bad movie by any means. If you believe your mind to be open enough and stomach strong enough, go see it and prepare for the Inception-level discussions post-watch.
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