It’s a good thing this movie didn’t come out on Mother’s Day, because wow.
Not a good “wow,” but the kind of “wow” you say with, like, 14 letter O’s in it as if you’re offended that you’ve lost two hours of your life watching the worst house guests of all time.
“Mother!” is like watching one of those extravagant parties on those “Real Housewives” reality shows, except the housewife doesn’t know what is going on, she doesn’t know why everybody is there, and everyone has lost their minds.
“Mother!” was a movie that I had to see just to find out what everybody was talking about. Like the movie “Get Out,” I’m finding this to be an effective means of advertising a movie to me.
Unlike the movie “Get Out,” this movie “Mother!” wasn’t great and kind of fails at being a psychological thriller.
It’s advertised as a horror movie, but it is more of an attempt to horrify viewers, seeking a reaction by throwing so much at viewers that it becomes more exhausting and annoying than anything.
Let me start from the beginning.
“Mother!” starts off with a married man — who is a poet or some type of writer — and his young wife. The wife (Jennifer Lawrence) is rebuilding a large house, isolated in an unspecified countryside, while her husband (Javier Bardem) waits for inspiration to write.
The wife doesn’t have a name in the movie and is just referred to as “Mother!” on character lists. This movie is so blatantly trying to be an intellectual movie that they don’t even give Jennifer Lawrence’s character a name. And for most of the movie, Lawrence’s character is basically being her husband’s mother because she does literally everything for him — cooking, cleaning, laundry, household repairs — while he sits at a desk and doesn’t write anything.
Anyway, the wife is renovating the home after a large fire destroyed it. The fire also killed her husband’s previous wife and child. The husband – just referred to as “Him” – appears bored with his wife most of the time. He also seems frustrated at his lack of inspiration and seemingly takes it out on her. Then a stranger arrives, and the husband lets him in, socializes him, and lets him stay the night.
The husband continues to let the stranger stay – along with the stranger’s intrusive wife who also shows up – after finding out that the stranger is fan of his writing. Lawrence’s character has to compete increasingly for her husband’s attention, who is much more interested in being adored by random fans than his wife.
The main feeling that viewers will be experiencing throughout the movie is frustration at how rude the increasing number of guests and fans in their home are to Jennifer Lawrence’s character and to the house itself. Seriously, I felt as if I was Stephanie Tanner on “Full House,” wanting to yell, “How rude!” at these characters for almost two hours.
The rudeness escalates throughout the movie until the plot completely derails. I won’t spoil it, but it was clear that writer and director Darren Aronofsky was trying to send a message or create some type of reaction, and the movie may have suffered for it. Too often when your intention is to send a particular message, it comes off as propaganda.
It wasn’t necessarily a bad kind of propaganda, as Lawrence’s character appeared like an allegory for Mother Nature in the midst of some kind of divine comedy. Other times, the movie came off as a warning against false idols, the sin of idolatry in general, or even the consequence of fame.
Or it could all be about how you should never trust a poet. I get that this is an allegory and it’s not really important that the husband is a poet, but no one likes poetry that much to act the way they did in “Mother!”
I would also like to posit that this would not have happened if these people had access to wifi. I think it would be hard to be a crazy fan participating in an angry mob while also watching cute puppy videos on YouTube.
Still, the movie exhausts viewers with its message by the end of the movie. It also abandons earlier plot points of the movie, turning “Mother!” into almost two films: one about a couple that needs either counseling or a divorce and another one about how false worship is bad.
In short, it’s not a fun movie, and I would argue that it’s not even that good of an intellectual film because the message is simply handed to viewer in blatant, graphic imagery. You could take a religiously or culturally significant object and set it on fire and have more ambiguity than “Mother!” (Well, maybe not, but STILL. That’s how obvious this movie is.)
The only good things about this movie are Jennifer Lawrence and that fact it will probably leave you talking after seeing it, as well as maybe rethinking every person and thing you have ever “fangirled” over, for lack of a better term.
A word of caution, this movie is rated R for a very graphic scene at the end of the movie that viewers may find upsetting. Personally, I think Darren Aronofsky was trying a little too hard with this plot point.
I give this movie a D.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336