House of Horror: A Review of ‘mother!’

Michael Lane, Copy Editor

Jennifer Lawrence is remarkable as the lead character in ‘mother!,’ one of the year’s most unforgettable films. Photo courtesy of Popsugar and Paramount Pictures

Esteemed director Darren Aronofsky’s (“Black Swan,” “Requiem for a Dream”) latest, “mother!,” is a certifiably polarizing film. It features a cast of beautiful, seat-filling stars (Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem among them), but what transpires on-screen is anything but their regular fare — and this is a movie that probably won’t be filling seats for much longer.

In fact, the rare ‘F’ Cinemascore the film received this past weekend is something I’m almost certain Aronofsky was shooting for (how he convinced anyone to fund this I surely will never understand). Despite what the mass audience may think of it, I’m actually here to convince you to see this movie, my hope being that maybe you’ll love and respect it just as I do.

“mother!” forgoes an easily digestible first act. Instead, Aronofsky slowly hints to the bigger picture he has ingeniously planned, all before the film explodes into a raucous second half and unforgettable finale. Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem play an unnamed couple referred to in the credits simply as “Mother” and “Him,” respectively. Together they live in a beautiful house secluded from the rest of the world. He’s a renowned poet in search of the right inspiration, while she works on crafting and finishing the perfect home.

Bardem’s character is portrayed as being incredibly generous and hospitable, so when Ed Harris (referred to as “Man”) shows up at his door unannounced and with nowhere else to go, he allows him to stay. While Lawrence’s character remains wary about this, Bardem’s assures her that this is the right thing to do. But when Harris is revealed to be a big fan of the famous writer — even going as far as to carry a picture of him within his luggage — this is when things start to get weird. And oh baby, this is only the beginning of it.

Although I’ve only covered the first 20-or-so minutes of the film, that’s really all I’m comfortable with saying regarding specifics of the plot. Otherwise, I would be tip-toeing around details that may or may not give away too much, and the last thing I want to do is risk spoiling anything. What I will say, though, is that when you do understand Aronofsky’s secret — that is, what he’s really conveying with his vision as Bardem’s character allows more and more people to step through the boundaries of her home — that’s when his film really clicks into place and becomes something special.

Michael Lane
Michael Lane is a junior public relations/advertising major with a marketing minor. This is his second year as a Flyer copy editor. He unabashedly loves the 90s sitcom “Roseanne.”

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