In theaters from writer/director Darren Aronofsky and Paramount Pictures is a test on the eyes and brain when it comes to “Mother!”
Jennifer Lawrence is in the title role of “Mother!” as a young woman who is living in a secluded and large house. Along with her acclaimed poet husband played by Javier Bardem, she is redecorating their home while he fights writer’s block for his next book.
When a mysterious man (Ed Harris) shows up at their door, she is immediately suspicious of who he is and what he could possibly want. Just as fast, her husband seems enthralled with their visitor and offers him a room for the night. Their guest also seems to have health problems that keep her husband occupied late into the night.
By morning there is another knock on the door and she is surprised to be introduced to their mysterious guest’s wife (Michelle Pfeiffer). She is once again upset that her husband now invites the wife to stay as well saying that having people around invigorates him.
That is until the couples two grown sons (Domhnall Gleeson and Brian Gleeson) show up to argue with their parents about the contents of a will. A fight breaks out with horrific results leaving her home while the others run to the hospital. When he returns home, more people show up at the house, and more, and more. She can take no more and demands that everyone leave her house and confronts her husband.
That confrontation leads to a night of passion that brings the joy both had been waiting for. Pregnant, she works more on the house and believes she finally has found happiness. Even more so is that her husband can’t stop writing and a new book is well received. So well received that people show up at their door bringing chaos and disaster — or do they.
Lawrence as Mother is a woman who dedicates herself to redecorating the home she shares with her husband. Constantly supportive, it isn’t until the arrival of the stranger that she begins to feel passed over and at the same time threatened. Lawrence’s character begins the film strong, but, like the film’s turning point just ends up a hot mess (once you see the film please no there is no pun intended).
Bardem as the husband is a man who seems to need constant emotional catering to and a half hour into the film I was over it. There is no chemistry between Bardem and Lawrence which makes his behavior even more annoying to watch. By the time things come around to the last few minutes I lost total interest.
Harris as the mystery man wouldn’t make it five seconds in my house. Arrogant and ignoring Lawrence’s characters wishes, it is an odd character placing and I suppose I’m going to have to think about it more yet I don’t want to. Pfeiffer as the mystery man’s husband actually had spunk, is mouthy and chugs down her special lemonade which makes her even more mouthy and challenging. That being said, there is only so much you can take of that as well.
Other cast include Amanda Chiu as Damsel, Patricia Summersett as Consoler, Eric Davis as Bumbler, Stephen McHattie as the Zealot, Jovan Adepo as the Cupbearer and Kristen Wiig as Herald.
I wanted to like “Mother!,” I was excited about this film and followed all the buzz. So, it is crazy to me that I just don’t know who the audience is for it. Of course, Aronofsky is known for his complex films and it’s like a roller coaster ride with him. I was intrigued by “The Fountain,” didn’t like “Noah,” adored his directing in “Black Swan” and “Jackie” and now we are back to “meh!” with “Mother!”
This is a film that is absolutely going to have to be experienced but I don’t know who would want to. Quite honestly it was all in for me the first five minutes of the film followed by all the subtle hint dropping throughout the film then, it turns into an experiment in torture (both of myself and the film’s characters).
I’m sure that Aronofsky knew what he wanted to show the viewer but I don’t think he thought of the viewer much. He is asking them to sit through a film that has amazing cinematography and talent but also asks them to figure out what his vision is. He had the makings of a good thriller and it starts out absolutely that way.
I followed along waiting for the “thing” to happen and instead I got thrown into the garbage shoot and I can’t wash off the gunk. Oh well.
In the end — seeing is not believing.