Darren Aronofsky’s latest film is one that has polarized critics and left mainstream audiences baffled. It’s bold, outrageous and absolutely wonderful in it’s own disturbing way. I loved it!
The film follows Veronica (Jennifer Lawrence) who lives peacefully in an old isolated house with her writer/poet husband (Javier Bardem). One day a mysterious guest comes to visit, disrupting the quiet life, slowly building to a crescendo of chaos.
The initial premise sounds like a generic set-up for a horror/thriller and the film has in fact been marketed as a ‘Psychological Horror’, but the marketing has been somewhat deceitful, making the film out to be different than what it actually is. The film does indeed show tropes of the psycho’ horror genre in the beginning, but as it unfolds it breaks conventionality and transcends the genre, arguably becoming more akin to an outlandish black comedy.
Regardless of its genre association’s though, the film is a constantly compelling and unique viewing experience that has tense, disturbing and emotional moments, though it does produce more questions than answers, ultimately leaving it all up to the viewer’s interpretation. This may frustrate and off-put many people, but I myself was fascinated by the various ways that it could be interpreted and loved how layered the film was.
One of the things that make the film work so well, is Jennifer Lawrence’s fantastic central performance, perfectly playing a woman on the edge – I really felt for her and the whirlwind of emotions she goes through. She is also backed up by a strong supporting cast including Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pffeifer, all of whom also put on great performances.
With the cinematography, the camera primarily stays close to Jennifer Lawrence’s character, following her around the house, which at times feels both intimate and invasive much like the situations she ends up being in. It’s an aesthetic that is very effective and incredibly well executed and one that Aronofsky has used in previous films like The Wrestler and Black Swan.
All of this is then complimented by some terrific sound design that really helps form the film’s atmosphere and perfectly captures the ambience of the old house setting with lots of little creaks and echoes being placed around the soundscape.
Overall, Mother! is a gripping experience and stands comfortably among Aronofsky’s best films. It is however hard to recommend as it is certainly not for everyone and it’s easy to see opinions have been so divided. For many this film will be too outlandish and/or puzzling, but for those fancying something a little different, I think it could be worth checking out. For me it felt like the kind of movie I’d make and it is probably my favourite film of this year so far. Just an incredible piece of film-making that reaffirms my love of Darren Aronofsky.
Story – 9.5
Acting – 10
Visual – 9
Sound – 9
Entertainment Value – 10
Reviewed by Eric Hart (Blazinhart).