First Impressions of Mother!

Curiosity led me to watch Mother! (2017) last weekend, writer/director Darren Aronofsky’s nihilistic allegory for Biblical creation… or something. It stars Jennifer Lawrence as Mother [Earth] and Javier Bardem as Him. I’ll mention that Darren and Jennifer are a couple only because it helps explain why she agreed to appear in this pretentious and awful film. Like Him, Darren Aronofsky is a writer and significantly older than his love interest, Jennifer Lawrence. Hmm, it doesn’t take a psychology major to figure out what’s going on here. Anyway, these are my first impressions:

  • If I hadn’t read about its controversial ending ahead of time, I probably would have walked out of the theater. When Mother wakes up the morning after having sex and declares “I’m pregnant,” someone in the audience actually started laughing. I had a hard time staying awake until the end.
  • Knowing what Mother! was about prior to watching it may have ruined the experience for me. It was hard to miss the obvious symbolism and painful attempt to distill the Biblical story down to its worst elements.
  • I considered comparing this movie to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Fando y Lis (1968), but that would be giving it too much creative credit.
  • When Fando y Lis premiered at the Acapulco Film Festival, a riot broke out and the director’s car was pelted with rocks. It was banned by the Mexican government for its sacrilegious depiction of Catholic ritual. But will Mother! have that kind of impact in 2017 America? Or will audiences simply react with revulsion to its grotesque Grand Guignol and miss the religious symbolism altogether?
  • I think it’s a little bizarre that A-list actress Jennifer Lawrence, who prides herself on playing strong female leads and on being a role model for young women, would agree to star in her boyfriend’s deranged snuff film.
  • Once again, the setting was the best part. Everything had a raw, earthy look and feel. Real texture. I love when the characters literally dig into it and organic wounds open up as though the house itself is alive.
  • Why are films so out of focus lately? Is this the “shaky camera” trend of the late-2010s?

Look for a more thorough review on Thursday afternoon.

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