Jennifer Lawerence in mother!

mother!: A Review

By Andrea Mau
Web Content Contributor

Psychological horror mother! by Darren Aronofsky will make your jaw drop. Released in 2017, mother! has infamously garnered a wide range of reactions with viewers either detesting or loving the film. No matter what though, they’re certainly talking about it. I am personally in the camp of loving the film, because mother! in a world of predictableness presents its audience with a mystery from beginning to end due to the amazing acting from its A-list cast, fascinating cinematography and gripping horror. mother! is an experience that will be haunting you long after it’s end. 

mother! takes place in the secluded home of wedded couple Mother, played by Jennifer Lawerence, and Him, played by Javier Bardem. Him is a writer currently struggling to finish his latest poem, while Mother tends to their house after a fire destroyed it years ago. The story kicks off when a stranger named Man, played by Ed Harris, arrives. Him is ecstatic to have company but Mother is weary of the stranger and wants to be alone with her husband. However she follows Him’s wishes and soon more and more unwanted guests come to the home. The situation then escalates far beyond the imagination into Mother’s own personal hell.           

Jennifer Lawerence in mother!
Jennifer Lawerence in mother! Image by Darren Aronofsky.

By far the best part of this film is Jennifer Lawerence. Her performance rules with her capture of both the innocence and intensity of Mother. It helps that the film also happens to feature an all-star cast with the previously mentioned Javier Bardem and Ed Harris, but also Michelle Pfeiffer (as Woman), Kristen Wiig (as Herald) and Domhnall Gleeson (as Oldest Son). The effect of these heavy hitters is evident with some of the most intense performances I’ve ever seen in horror. The backbone of this intensity is undoubtedly Jennifer Lawerence as she maintains this fundamental naivety to her character compared to others, heightening the conflict within scenes. This is one of the many ways in which mother! is exceptional.   

The setting of mother!
The setting of mother! Image by Darren Aronofsky.

Despite the film taking place entirely within the house, mother! still offers a variety of awe-inspiring visuals. The house itself is gorgeous with a European style spiral staircase, open kitchen and multiple tiers. However as the story progresses, the home begins to alter drastically in contrast with this heavenly and bright beginning that becomes increasingly hellish and dark. mother! is dynamic in how it presents both sides of the ocular spectrum, which not only discerns plot elements but also the cinematographic appeal of the movie. 

A horrific scene from mother!
A horrific scene from mother! Image by Darren Aronofsky.

But most importantly, how is the horror? This is by far the most controversial aspect of the film. I would like to disclaim that mother! is not for everyone, featuring extremely graphic content and gore. The violence of this film is surprisingly abundant, and there appears to be no lines Aronofsky will not cross when it comes to who is killed. For reference, mother! is about a grade below Cannibal Holocaust on the level of messed up. The horror mostly stems from shock value but also Mother as her modest personality compared to the crudeness of others makes the audience sympathize and root for her to survive and overcome the horrors put against her.     

mother! is one of the strangest films I’ve ever seen, but also one of the most memorable. A combination of Jennifer Lawerence’s powerhouse performance, a myriad of differing spectacles and terrifying displays of savagery have made mother! the most disputed yet evocative film of the century. There is no doubt in my mind mother! is a movie filmgoers will be discussing and analyzing decades from now. Be a part of the conversation and see mother! on Amazon Prime or YouTube.

Featured image by Darren Aronofsky.

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