Skip to main content

Dan's Review: "Mother!" takes swipe at God, misses

Sep 14, 2017 07:14PM ● Published by Dan Metcalf

Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence in Mother! - © 2017 Paramount Pictures

Mother! (Paramount Pictures)

Rated R for strong disturbing violent content, some sexuality, nudity and language.

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson, Kristen Wiig, Jovan Adepo, Stephen McHattie.

Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky.

GRADE: D

REVIEW:

It seems to me that some notable independent film artists follow a pattern, of sorts. They sell their souls, mortgage all their possessions and beg or borrow enough money to make a breakthrough film. A few lucky (and talented) ones win awards, get their work purchased by a major distributor, and sign deals that allow them to make major motion pictures without financial encumbrance. They date/marry movie stars, make bigger budget films, and then…hubris takes over, and they realize they have a forum to let the world know all about their core beliefs (whether the world wants to know about them or not). Darren Aronofsky follows this pattern (in my opinion), and we’ve reached the full measure of his hubris with this week’s release of Mother!, a surreal horror film he wrote and directed, with all kinds of personal insights about God, humankind and nature.

None of the characters are named in the film, but the main players are “Mother” (Jennifer Lawrence) and “Him” (Javier Bardem). The couple lives in a secluded old house in the middle of a vacant field (no roads or paths), where “Mother” works to renovate the old building into the perfect living space. Meanwhile, “Him,” a poet known for writing a famous work some years earlier, grumps around trying to break out of a writer’s slump. “Mother” is spooked by visions of the home being burned, and a living heartbeat within the walls of the building. One day, a traveler (Ed Harris) arrives at the home thinking it’s a boarding house, planning to stay the night. “Mother” is perplexed by the idea, but “Him” welcomes the traveler to stay the night. Soon, the traveler’s wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) shows up, disrespecting her host. Later, the couple’s feuding sons appear (Domhnall and Brian Gleeson) and one of them is killed during an argument over their father’s will. After the encounter, “Mother” and “Him” have a major argument that leads to lovemaking and a pregnancy, which miraculously cures the poet’s writer’s block. Months later as the baby is about to be born, the new poetry becomes a smash hit, prompting hundreds of fans to appear at their door to worship “Him.” Things get out of hand when the crowd invades the home and the baby is born. It all ends in a violent, gruesome, apocalyptic outcome, followed by a repeating scenario of sorts.

Sounds cheery, huh?

Mother! is an apparent metaphor for many different aspects of existence, and Aronofsky leaves plenty of room for interpretation. I’m pretty sure “Him” is supposed to be an allegory for “god” or “religion”, and “Mother” represents Earth, while the traveler, his family, and all the needy, adoring poetry fans are supposed to be some sort of representation of humanity, or humanity’s greed or search for meaning. Bardem, Lawrence, Harris and Pfeiffer all perform their roles very well, but let’s dispense with their acting prowess (yeah, they are all talented performers, and Mother! is a great showcase for them), some above-average cinematography and a very effective and creepy motif (art direction).

All filmmaking qualities aside, the core message of Mother! is the biggest load of pretentious rubbish I’ve seen this year. It would seem that Aronofsky’s gnostic vision of humanity (also a major focus of his equally pretentious Noah) is not a very good one, and he doesn’t really have much respect or use for God (or religion), either.

>>Spoiler Alert<<

Case in point: During the final “apocalyptic” ending, “Mother’s” baby is taken from her by the adoring poetry fans, ripped to shreds and eaten by the crowd, while “Mother” herself is beaten and sexually assaulted.

Cool story, Bro.

I suppose Aronofsky is trying to champion some kind of environmental message in Mother! (like in Noah), but he offers zero hope, zero answers and even less wisdom regarding the role of man and nature, while taking a not-too-subtle swipe at religion. Good luck with that. Some critics and art lovers may marvel at Mother!’s nihilism, but meanwhile, most of the world a) believes in (a) God, b) tries to make their world better and c) doesn’t give one flying crap about Aronofsky’s dark thoughts about all the above.  I certainly don’t.


Mother! Trailer

Today, Arts+Entertainment movies movie reviews Surrealism
  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/23/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/25/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Aging Mastery Program

    10/26/2017
    01:00PM — 02:30PM

    Join the ten-week health and wellness program, Aging Mastery at Millcreek Senior Center. The clas...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/26/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • Instruction Classes

    10/26/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Freaky Friday's

    10/27/2017
    08:30AM — 09:15AM

    Zombies sing and dance to top Halloween Hits in this THRILLING Halloween show for the entire fami...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/27/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/27/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • Wasatch Symphony's Fall Concert

    10/29/2017
    07:30PM — 08:30PM

    Join us for our 64th season opener! In recognition of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Ref...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/23/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/25/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Aging Mastery Program

    10/26/2017
    01:00PM — 02:30PM

    Join the ten-week health and wellness program, Aging Mastery at Millcreek Senior Center. The clas...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/26/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • Instruction Classes

    10/26/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Freaky Friday's

    10/27/2017
    08:30AM — 09:15AM

    Zombies sing and dance to top Halloween Hits in this THRILLING Halloween show for the entire fami...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/27/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/27/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/28/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • Wasatch Symphony's Fall Concert

    10/29/2017
    07:30PM — 08:30PM

    Join us for our 64th season opener! In recognition of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Ref...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/30/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/01/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Aging Mastery Program

    11/02/2017
    01:00PM — 02:30PM

    Join the ten-week health and wellness program, Aging Mastery at Millcreek Senior Center. The clas...


  • Instruction Classes

    11/02/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/03/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Orchid Show

    11/04/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    Join the Utah Orchid Society for a dazzling display of both common and exotic orchid varieties. S...


  • Garden Adventures - Squishy Squash

    11/04/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Did you know that squash are actually fruits and NOT vegetables? Learn more about squash and disc...


  • Orchid Show

    11/05/2017
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    Join the Utah Orchid Society for a dazzling display of both common and exotic orchid varieties. S...


  • Move Over... Amazon, Walmart, Target & others... We are introducing the most powerful, innovativ...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/06/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Move Over... Amazon, Walmart, Target & others... We are introducing the most powerful, innovativ...


  • Leading building industry business coach and educator, The Aspire Institute, will present a one-d...


  • Move Over... Amazon, Walmart, Target & others... We are introducing the most powerful, innovativ...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/08/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Move Over... Amazon, Walmart, Target & others... We are introducing the most powerful, innovativ...


  • Salt Lake City Sales Job

    11/09/2017
    09:00AM — 12:30PM

    Salt Lake City Professional Career Event - Sales & Management Specific HireLive is a national ...


  • Salt Lake City Sales Job Fair

    11/09/2017
    09:00AM — 12:30PM

    Salt Lake City Professional Career Event - Sales & Management Specific HireLive is a national ...


  • Salt Lake City Sales Job Fair

    11/09/2017
    09:00AM — 12:30PM

    Salt Lake City Professional Career Event - Sales & Management Specific HireLive is a national ...


  • Frontiers of Science

    11/09/2017
    06:00PM — 07:30PM

    Frontiers of Science featuring, Francis R. McAllister Thursday, November 9 at 6:00 p.m.


  • Instruction Classes

    11/09/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Move Over... Amazon, Walmart, Target & others... We are introducing the most powerful, innovativ...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/10/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Move Over... Amazon, Walmart, Target & others... We are introducing the most powerful, innovativ...


  • Intermountain Train Expo

    11/11/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Entertainment for the entire family! Tons of hands-on activities including boxcar races, demoliti...


  • Garden Adventures - Fantastic Fall Foliage

    11/11/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Have you ever wondered why green leaves change to red, yellow, orange, and brown in the fall? Joi...


  • Grief and The Holidays

    11/11/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Caring Connections: A Hope and Comfort in Grief Program will hold its annual Grief and the Holida...


  • Intermountain Train Expo

    11/12/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Entertainment for the entire family! Tons of hands-on activities including boxcar races, demoliti...


  • Move Over... Amazon, Walmart, Target & others... We are introducing the most powerful, innovativ...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/13/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


 

Online Edition
Follow us on Facebook
Online Edition South Salt Lake
Advertise with us

 

City Journals 9500 South 500 West, Suite 205, Sandy, Utah 84070 801.254.5974