Review: mother!

By Jan Hamilton

Why isn’t “mother!” capitalized? That’s just one more mystery in this extremely strange new movie from Darren Aronofsky. The performances from the high powered cast are wonderful.  Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michele Pfeiffer are all great with the strange roles they are given.

The movie starts as if it is a horror film, with immediate foreshadowing of bad things to come, but those expecting a horror movie will be disappointed. A seemingly happy couple (Bardem and Lawrence) live in an old house, in a tranquil, but remote location. Lawrence is lovingly restoring the home after a terrible fire, doing everything herself. She cooks, cleans and is sweet and supportive of her somewhat older husband, a famous poet who has been experiencing a long stretch of writers block.  An unexpected and uninvited visitor (Harris) arrives and things start to go downhill quickly. 

With the arrival of yet more people, strife, then chaos and violence ensue.  Things finally calm down, Bardem finally gets the inspiration  beautiful thing ever written. This, plus a pregnancy have the couple happier than they have ever been. What happens next is strange, to put it mildly. Is it supposed to be some parallel to the life of Jesus?

Is it supposed to mean that you could have the most wonderful life you could imagine, and you still would not be happy? The final scenes remind me of Day of the Locust, a story by Nathanael West of a sane person surrounded but an insane mob, bent on destruction. Whatever you take away from this movie, it will give you much to think about.

The bottom line: not my cup of tea, but worth seeing.


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