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Hollywood Movie " Mother " 2017 Review and summery

Hollywood Movie " Mother " 2017 Review and summery

“Mother!” (2017):
Huh . . . well, that was fun.
In fact, don’t believe the brutality hype.
Take the kids. They’ll love it!
But seriously, no, don’t do that last part . . .
I do not need to tell anybody that when it comes to an Darren Aronofsky film, there’s going to be fans that lap it up like it’s liquid gold, or its going to entice people to lean towards the desire to crumple it up, burn it, and piss on the ashes. “mother!” is most certainly going to garner the same type of reactions, with maybe a few sprinkled somewhere in-between, which is where I’m currently finding myself.

To be clear, on a technical-level and working with a far lesser budget than “Noah”, Aronofsky is as on-target as ever here in “mother!” Call him pretentious if you insist (and I highly doubt he gives half-a-sh*t if anyone did), but the man knows his way around a scene and how to construct said scenes for optimal details and chaos. Story aside, though I will get to that here in a minute, Aronofsky’s use of visuals, high-caliber performances, and claustrophobic set pieces alone will guarantee you won’t be bored while your mind attempts unravel whatever the hell the film’s story is trying to tell you.

Speaking of which, much like all the other reviews already posted, I cannot tell you much of anything outside of what’s on the surface. Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem are a husband and wife (nameless in the film but credited as “Mother” and “HIM”) living a seemingly tranquil life in a secluded country home that they are attempting to rebuild after it was severely damaged in a fire. I say “they”, but I really mean her as she does all of the work while he attempts to break through his writer’s block and create new poetry for the masses to enjoy once again.

Shortly after the picturesque stage is set, the couple receives a visit from a man (Ed Harris) claiming to be a doctor that misunderstood their home to be a Bed & Breakfast. Yet, regardless of his error, Bardem’s character quickly ushers the man inside and insists that he stay as long as he desires. Lawrence is not overly thrilled about allowing a perfect stranger stay in their home, but after some additional assurance from her husband and taking notice that the doctor appears to be suffering from some kind of ailment, she relents and allows him to stay as well. His supposed temporary residence seems to be going okay until his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) arrives the very next day and is nothing short of crude towards Lawrence, and, eventually, both Pfeiffer and Harris begin to blatantly disregard and disrespect Lawrence’s hospitality and home, resulting in the degradation of her patience and nerves. To complicate things further, the couple soon is informed by Harris that he in fact not a doctor, but is instead a massive fan of Bardem’s poetry, and he wanted to see Bardem in the flesh before he passes away from his illness. Once again, this puts Lawrence between a rock and a hard place, and she does not have the heart to kick the couple out, especially as their presence appears to be charging Bardem’s creative batteries.

I could keep going on without revealing a whole lot, but essentially you can take those two paragraphs and continue to multiply it with more and more people invading the house wanting to see Bardem, and Lawrence become more and more infuriated and bewildered by their rude and destructive behaviors.

However, do keep in mind that this synopsis barely – and I mean BARELY – scratches the surface of what “mother!” is serving up. As is the case with a bulk of his previous entries, Aronofsky attempts to hit the audience square in the face with physical and anatomical horror-violence , twisted metaphoric religious zeal, idol worship, etc., and that’s just looking from the inside-out. Flipping the perspective around, one could also argue that the relationship between Mother and HIM has sinister undertones of its own for the audience to wrestle on top of everything else.

I may have been joking a little bit at the top of the review about not believing all the brutality hype surrounding this film either from a critical or marketing standpoint, but I was only poorly attempting humor to a degree. See, while this might be consider a minor spoiler, the film is really not at all what the trailer wants you to think. Don’t misunderstand me, there are horror “elements” and there was one major scene that I will not describe to you that made my body freeze and nearly made my mind say out loud, “They can’t do that. They can’t do that, can they? Holy f*ck, they just did that!” I can easily imagine some people either getting really pissed or really sick, or both, and regular Sunday church-goers making a sprint to Confession due to that five minutes alone more than any of the other lines Aronofsky crosses in an attempt to jolt you. Other than that though, speaking as if the aforementioned isn’t enough, “mother!” is better represented and described as a tensely uncomfortable drama with some thrills mixed in for good measure. It’s possible that could be disappointing to some, but out of respect for the madness that this film still is, I wouldn’t let it discourage you.

This is typically the part of the review where I start going over things that I thought were positive and what didn’t work, and unfortunately I mostly can’t because goddamn spoilers, but I guess one issue I can describe on a vague level is that there were a few moments and objects of supposed significance that are meant to tie everything together, but said significance doesn’t really make sense. Granted, going into an Aronofsky project, you know nothing is going to be explained, and that’s fine. There’s a certain detail that I have been racking my brain over trying to figure out why it was so important, and so far I’m coming up blank. I’m not going to excuse myself yet and say it was impossible that I was too distracted or too dumb to catch it, but for now I will assume that something was missing.

On the positive side, at least what hasn’t been covered already, the performances by Lawrence and Bardem are outstanding. Bardem, as a whole, is mostly subdued through the film until becoming a quietly piercing force during the climax, so it is Lawrence that legitimately soars above the rest. I consider myself a fan of Jennifer Lawrence, but I will admit there have been roles or repeated roles in the past where her full engagement could be called into question; this is not so with “mother!” If asked what I felt her best achievement was to date, I would tell you “Silver Linings Playbook” – until now. This is a film that could easily stress you out, and that only works because Lawrence has to make Mother stressed out, and did she ever make that happen. I may not like every film she’s done in the past, but I will be remembering her in this feature for a long time.

So I guess the underlining question in all of this for me is “Did I like it?” To be honest, I have no idea. For reasons mentioned earlier, “mother!” does deserve its praises and I can almost promise that whether you end up liking or hating it, you will be thinking about it long after it’s over. My conundrum is that while I get what Aronofsky was going for and I appreciate what he was going for, I don’t really WANT to see it again, yet I feel I NEED to see it again. “mother!”, to me, feels like a densely-layered song that may not at first be very appealing on the surface, but after giving it a few tries, the levels start to unravel and you start picking up on hidden gems that may have been allowed to pass by the first few times.

Based on all its strengths alone, I will give “mother!” my recommendation, because it does deserve to be seen. The film contains so much material requiring one’s own interpretation that results are obviously going to vary. Take that as you will.
“mother!”: 8/10
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