Saturday, September 16, 2017

Movie Review: mother!

Darren Aronofsky makes intense thrillers and his latest is no different. I had no idea what to expect from this film only seeing the cryptic trailer and seeing the film before the reviews. Since its release, mother! has been the source of opinions ranging from hatred to adoration. My opinion rests somewhere in the middle as I was entertained through the whole film and shocked at various moments while also disturbed and little letdown by the outrageous finale. Thinking about the film later, my opinion grows more favorable and it is the kind of film that one would continue to think about days or even weeks after seeing it. The film borders on horror even having a few jump scares that I usually enjoy in a film while also just being creepy and horrific through various scenes.

The film begins with a woman burning and then a man (Javier Bardem) placing a crystal on a stand. A house magically repairs from fire damage all through the room until it focuses on a woman (Jennifer Lawrence) in bed. She wakes up and searches the house. The camera constantly whirls around staying primarily focused on Lawrence and hardly ever going outside of the house. Bardem's character is a poet that can't seem to produce any work or have any affection towards his doting wife. She works to repair the house as he locks himself in his room struggling to prevent art. A mysterious orthopedic surgeon (Ed Harris) arrives at the house, claiming to think this house was a bed and breakfast, and the poet invites him to stay the night, much to the woman's chagrin.

The two men hit it off joking and drinking but the new guest is sick. The next day the guest's wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) shows up and boldly questions the owners' relationship, rudely throwing around their wet laundry and making herself at home. The surgeon invades the poet's writing room and breaks his precious crystal causing the woman to demand the guest couple to leave. They don't as the poet remains welcoming even when the guests' younger son (Brian Gleeson) shows up claiming that his older brother (Domhnall Gleeson) is angry about the will. The older brother shows up angry and chases the younger brother until he kills him right in front of Lawrence's character. The family and the poet leave the woman alone in the house to clean up the mess as they go to the hospital. She is terrorized by the older brother until the poet returns.

The movie goes off the rails as the poet invites more and more people for a wake for the young son. The guests destroy the house and invade their room and bed. Lawrence's character tries to get them to leave, though the Bardem's poet remains welcoming. They argue after everyone leaves and eventually make love impregnating the woman. The mother cleans the house as the poet discovers his ability to write again producing an acclaimed work. As the mother's belly grows, the poet's fame increases until the night they are celebrating with a quiet meal turns into a fan event and a book signing. The poet's manager (Kristen Wiig) arranges the event and continues to invite in adoring fans despite the mother's protest. The film gets even wilder as the crowds turn into riots and then all out war.

The mother births the baby but does not trust the poet to hold it. She tries to watch over it but falls asleep and the poet steals the child to bring out to her adoring crowds who take it and pass it around until they tear it apart and eat it in the most disturbing scene of the film. The mother is enraged and fights her way to the baby but the crowd beats her until the poet saves her. She breaks free and runs into the basement where oil leaks from a tank and she sets fire to the house. The process begins again after the poet harnesses the devotion from the mother's chest. The film is a mad metaphor heavy on the symbolism that isn't so desne or subtle about its message. I enjoyed most of it but foudn some parts a bit too strange. 

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