If you are a fan of Darren Aronofskys style and earlier works such as The Fountain (2006), Black Swan (2010) and Noah (2014) you may enjoy mother!. The film is directed from the perspective of Jennifer Lawrence’s character who is credited as “Mother” on IMDb. She lives with Javier Bardems character, a struggling poet, who is only credited as “Him”. They live in a secluded house in the country that Mother takes care of and has a deep connection too. This is her paradise. The two actors make a very unique couple and play off each other very well. They do not seems like two people who would be together in real life and that is very reminiscent of very old horror movies.
Aronofskys style for mother! is one that makes the viewer claustrophobic and want to be able to reel back in their chairs and get a view of the bigger picture at work in this mystery horror film. Soon enough in the first act the film begins to reveal itself for what is truly taking place. It may take you until the second or third act or even the end of the film to begin to understand what horrors and mystery mother! presents.
One of the unique things that the film does is not include a score. The film uses silence and sound design to keep you on the edge of your seat. Overall the film does a lot to make the audience uncomfortable and really think about what they just witnessed and that is where the heart of this film truly is; the controversy and discussion that comes from it. Love it or hate it you will be talking about it once the credits roll. If you want to witness something different and unique in the theater in the near future see mother!. Filmmakers like Aronofsky, who shake up the regular box office line up and create the “Theater of Cruelty” may not always be welcome by general audiences but their creations are part of the art form of film.
WARNING: Discussion and analyst of mother! ahead. Will contain spoilers
If you have seen this film you know it is probably tough to talk about without spoiling it since the movie is heavy in content. Ahead I will discuss what I got from the film with my general knowledge of religion as well as what I learned in discussions with friends and other viewers.
As we know from looking at the entire film Him represents God and a type prophet while Mother represents Gaia or Mother Earth. The relationship between the two is explored through the film.
For the purpose of my analyst Javier Bardems character his refereed to as Him, God, poet and prophet.
Jennifer Lawrence’s character will be referred to as Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Gaia, Paradise, the house and the Virgin Mary.
The film opens with a unnamed female character being burned alive just as Mother is towards the end of this movie. Him takes a crystal (mothers unconditional love) and rests it on a mantel. The house is burned down and begins to rebuild itself and take shape. As the house is complete and healed Mother rises from bed. She wakes up alone and explores the house and finds she is alone. God is off somewhere trying to create. Mother is in/is paradise and/or the Garden of Eden. Soon a fan of Gods work arrives at the house in the form of Ed Harris who is Man/Adam. Man does not want to overstay his welcome. Mother is not happy with this invitation to Man into paradise just as Earth may not be happy with the presence of Man as he begins to use what he wishes but is still respectful. Adam then becomes sick and Mother sees he as a wound on his side. This is a reference to Adam who has a rib taken from him to create his companion Eve.
The next morning Eve arrives. Again God is inviting man into paradise. Eve is not kind to Mother Earth or Paradise. She uses what she wishes and makes a mess of the place. Both Adam and Eve are not embarrassed by their public display of affection just as in the Book of Genesis Adam and Eve are not embarrassed to be naked. Eve is constantly tempted to go into the poets office. The office can also be seen as the Garden of Eden where the crystal heart of the last Earth is, which can also be seen as the forbidden fruit. Eve is tempted by the open door and finally enters the office and breaks the crystal almost immediately. Adam and Eve are cast out of the poets office/Eden and told not to come back. They do however stay in the house/Earth. Soon their sons show up. They are arguing and begin to fight. These brothers represent Cain and Abel played by Brian and Domhnall Gleeson. Cain strikes Abel down and the blood stains the floor and melts through to the basement. The blood melts away the walls in the basement which we eventually find out leads to the room with the furnace oil tank. We can look at this and say that the first time man strikes down man leads to their eventual apocalypse. The room found by mother is how she brings about the apocalypse and blows up herself and the physical house.
Soon there is a funeral for Abel and random guests appear in the house. These individuals are also fans of the poets work. They love him and want to hear Him speak. They pay no attention to Mother, she is not as important as God and his words. No matter how much she tells everyone to stop what they’re doing and get out or to not sit on the sink they do it. Man is corrupt just as they were before the events of the great flood. What does Aronofsky give us? A flood. The pipes burst and make a mess of the house and everyone flees including Adam and Eve. The house is a mess and Mother is angry. Eventually Him and Mother have sex. The next morning Mother realizes she is pregnant. This inspires the poet to begin his new piece. This new piece can be seen as the New Testament and everything that occurred before this was a mirroring of the Old Testament. Mother makes a comment that she will clean and “return to the apocalypse” as the great flood was one. Mother Earth is happy and beginning to heal again.
After some time the two are preparing for a night alone and the poet mentions that his new piece is sold out and everyone loves it. Soon followers are at their door and begin to flood the house. The poet loves it and we learn he loves his followers even more and knows he is nothing without them. The house breaks with fans chanting and wanting the poets love. Kristen Wiig shows up as the poets publisher. As I have heard she may represent the business side and exploitation of religion. Soon the house breaks into chaos and the poets followers begin to make signs and chants to celebrate Him. Through the chaos there are many different parallels to religions course in history. Wars break out in the house, a First Nations man who is ripping some of the wall off says he just wants to “prove that he was here” before getting attacked by a Caucasian man, Kristen Wiig begins to execute random people before getting blown up. The house is a war zone and mother cannot escape. Finally Him shows up and takes her away to his office where she eventually gives birth to their child who represents Jesus Christ. At this point mother can be seen as the Virgin Mary as she gave birth to a child whos father apparently couldn’t perform in bed. She holds the baby and cares for him but does not to give him to the poet. The followers send gifts through the barricaded door. When mother falls asleep the poet takes the baby and gives it to the followers. They celebrate this new prophet and pass him around until his neck snaps. The prophet is dead and they take part in communion and literally devour the body of Jesus. Mother is furious and begins to strike down these people before they beat her up. Him shows up and saves her before she escapes and goes down to the basement. She lights the furnace oil tank on fire and destroys the entire house.
Mother nature has had enough and destroys the world and all on it. Just as we saw she did before at the beginning of the film. She has brought the apocalypse. God carries her body and finally rips out her heart with a crystal in it. He places it on the mantel and the house begins to take its normal shape again. A new mother rises from the bed and the movie ends.
As we can see God has tried times before us to make living beings on this planet yet they failed, he tried with us and we eventually destroy the earth and push it to the limits. God will try again with a new species on the planet. Whether they are human or not he is nothing without his followers.
The film is also to be looked at as a commentary on the environment as how we treat mother earth. Humans took what they wanted without any care. They were wicked and brought the Great Flood upon themselves. They finally pushed their carelessness to the limits and the Earth cannot sustain their presence anymore.
Aronofskys take on planet Earth and the Old and New Testament are very interesting just as it was in Noah (2014). Humans/other beings have tried to live on this planet time and time again with the help of God but we never care for mother nature and her needs or wants. We kill the planet over and over.