mother! – Good, Bad & Ugly Review

A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. From filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream). – (Source)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 67% (Critics) / 47% (Audience)
MetaScore: 74 – Generally Favorable Reviews
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky
Written By: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer
Studio: Paramount Pictures

The Good:
Technically, mother! is a visual masterpiece. Aranofsky uses inventive camera work full of wonderful wide angles and intense close-ups and once the movie really starts to become unhinged the chaos that is presented on screen is downright majestic in its anarchy. I would probably not have a problem sitting through a version of this movie that strips out all of the dialogue and just presents itself as a silent feast for the eyes.

The Bad:
Sadly, the movie I sat through was chock full of dialogue. Utterly pretentious, mindbogglingly banal dialogue. I am all for letting creative people create but I am also a fan of creators not falling into a black hole of their own navel-gazing self-gratification. And while there are those who have fallen into the trap of looking for the deeper meaning that Aranofsky was going for in this film, I don’t think there is anything deeper than a creative mind being so self-indulgent that he forgot to make a film that was in the end entertaining. Did it make people think? Sure it did. Did have people talking (or even arguing) about it? Definitely.
But I’d say films like A SERBIAN FILM and HUMAN CENTIPEDE did the same thing and no one ever called them masterpieces or accused the people who didn’t like those films of not being smart enough to get the deeper meaning.
And just how deep was it anyway? Is Jennifer Lawrence’s character Gaea? Is Javier Bardem’s character God? Was the house the Garden of Eden? Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer were Adam & Eve right? And their sons were obviously Cain and Abel. All of those things could be true and the film could also be an examination of gender roles or maybe it wants to make some point about how those who create are the most important people in the world. Honestly who knows what mother! means and it really doesn’t matter to me because at the end of the day it didn’t work for me.
I also felt that playing a character like Mother really wasn’t in Lawrence’s wheelhouse. She never quite felt right in a role that called on her to react to things instead of being proactive. Frankly, I really wasn’t wowed by anyone’s acting in this film. All four veteran actors made acting choices that were perplexing or maybe they were just as bewildered by what Aranofsky was doing as I was that they didn’t know what type of performances to give.

The Ugly:
The scene with the newborn baby and the mob was incredibly grotesque.

Final Verdict: A technically beautiful film that also was an obnoxiously incoherent mess full of oddly mediocre performances from usually amazing actors and a director being so self-indulgent in making his creative vision that he barely seemed to care about making a movie that was entertaining audiences.

Grade: D

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