“mother!” is a film that’s all message and metaphor with little entertainment to go with it.
“mother!” is a unique and disturbing film littered with symbolism that may be interpreted in many different ways. The main plot of the film surrounds a couple and their relationship, which is put under pressure through a series of uninvited guests.
“mother!” is the type of film you watch for 2 hours and 1 minute and still don’t really know what happened. As a result of the abstract nature of the film, which is mostly made up of metaphors and can be interpreted both literally and in a hundred different non-figurative ways, it leaves you questioning the entirety of the film as it finishes. This generally leaves a viewer to go and complete some follow up research, which will usually lead you to the most common interpretation and the main one the director himself (Darren Aronofsky) intended.
This interpretation consists of the main metaphor of the piece revolving around God and Mother Nature embodied in the characters of the main couple in the film. From this point the film contains a large amount of biblical references including Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. There are a large range of analysis videos, interviews and written analysis that explain this in greater depth and explore different meanings and representations behind symbolism in the film.
“mother!” is a triumph on a technical level, as the camera work and sound design are exceptional. Jennifer Lawrence carries the film, being in almost every frame, as she is the eyes the audience see through. However, on an emotional level it’s hard to empathise with the characters because they don’t feel like real people, as they are more physical representations of abstract concepts and are supposed to represent a wider meaning.
Darren Aronofsky’s last directorial effort “Noah” bares similarities to “mother!” in the form of religious message. Comparably “mother!” is full of great visual effects used successfully to create a reaction, usually of discomfort, within the audience. In contrast to “Noah”, “mother!” did not result in a satisfying ending, leaving more questions than answers to draw solid conclusions from.
Overall, “mother!” has a misleading marketing campaign, as it has been sold as a horror, which may lead to disappointment upon viewing the film for those going in expecting a linear horror film. Although there are typical factors associated with the horror genre, such as graphic and disturbing moments, as well as suspenseful pauses and camera movements, the film does not really follow through on any of these common horror tropes.
“mother!” is a film with the aim to portray a deeper meaning rather than providing mainstream appeal or entertainment value, and almost feels like it’s made especially for the critics. However, if you are in the mood for a deeper thought provoking film that will get you talking, see “mother!”