Darren Aronofsky knows how to make a damn good psychological thriller. DAMN GOOD. Not just psychological, but movies that make you think and feel a certain way after you leave. Black Swan is an unnerving look at the competitive lifestyle of dancers while Requiem for a Dream is an in-depth look into the world of addiction and his style of filmmaking takes you on a wild ride down that hole to understand exactly what it feels like.
I could go on and talk about all of his films and how they affect their audience, BUT I’m not here today to do that. Maybe I will later, who knows.
I’m here to talk about his new film with a heavy allegory within it; mother!
“mother!” stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a lovely couple in a beautiful home in the middle of nowhere. Literally. The house is dead center in the middle of NOWHERE. Anyways, they live a content and peaceful lifestyle of redecorating the home and making it, as J-Law says, a “paradise”. Bardem is an author who’s struggling to create new content, while Lawrence plays a kind, loving, doting woman who’s willing to give everything she has so that the world around her remains a happy and tranquil place. Everything from her facial expressions to the tone of her voice helps to show what a gentle presence she has in this house.
Their whole lifestyle is turned upside down when Ed Harris shows up at their front door unannounced. Bardem is incredibly welcoming, while Lawrence feels like their privacy is being invaded. It doesn’t get much better when Ed’s wife, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, shows up later on and joins him. Then their sons show up and it’s a slow downward spiral from there.
This movie is very hard to grasp at first. None of the characters have specific names, and the story is very straight forward, but it has a magnificent flow to it. As I mentioned before, this movie has a massive allegory within it. It’s underlying story is about mother nature and how quickly human beings take advantage of her. So how do Lawrence and Bardem bring this metaphor to life? Let me explain:
Lawrence is a gentle spirit willing to give what she can to the world. In the beginning, there’s a moment when she places her hand to the wall and the scene cuts to a beating heart within it, almost as if she has a deep connection with the house itself and it is alive as well. As the movie continues on and Harris and Pfeiffer show up, the tone switches from pleasant to very tense. They’re disrespectful of the house and especially Lawrence. They come in and make themselves at home without showing any gratitude, there’s definitely a heavy Adam and Eve type essence to their arrival. The more people show up, the more the house and Lawrence become incredibly unbalanced and angry. In the end, more people show up and begin taking over individual rooms in the house. Each room has a different action happening within it. There’s war, protests, murder, stealing and plenty more. It gets graphic and very disturbing REAL QUICK.
The movie ends with Lawrence setting the entire place up in flames.
So what did I take away from this film? A lot. I thought about a lot during this. The main thing I took away was that it was all about having a respect for mother nature. People come in, take advantage of her, disrespect her and what she has and she can get mad and will do something about it. It’s something we see almost every day in the news, ESPECIALLY recently. If we don’t take care of mother nature, she has the ability to end it.
This movie is worth multiple viewings as it has SO many layers, but overall it’s one of the most thought-provoking and visceral movies I’ve seen in awhile.