review by Bobby Blakey
Director Darren Aronofsky has delivered some great films including Black Swan, Requiem For a Dream and The Wrestler that offer up some engaging stories that make you think and open up discussions wether you like them or not. Now he is back once again with a controversial new horror/thriller that looks promising with mother! starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer, but does it offer up something worthy of its controversy and watching or should never have been created?
Mother! follows a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. This description is accurate and deceptive all at once as the film is about so much more, but really hard to review without giving anything away. After seeing this film and hearing all the discussion surrounding it I had to sit with it a bit before making my final judgement because there is just so much to take away from it. I find myself realizing how much I really like the film as a whole despite some mild issues for me here and there. This is not a film for everyone and going to be one of those you love or hate films, but at the end I almost think that is the point. There are so many things that this film focuses on including love, loss, sadness, loneliness, religion, environmental issues and more that it is a lot to take in.
The first half of the film is really slow paced by design, but so much so that it could lose some before getting into the real meat of it all. There are constantly questionable decisions and things happening that are frustrating and easily resolved, but the characters seem to be doing whatever they want with no real reasoning. This is all fully resolved in the end, but not without a lot more questions depending on what you get out of it. The cast is excellent, but this is essentially Lawrence’s film who is forced to carry the majority of it on her shoulders. As it moves forward you start seeing pieces coming together and slapping you in the face with insanity. The entire last half of the film is chaotic and violent completely changing the tone of the film and offering up what will be a lot more confusion to some viewers if you are not closely paying attention to what is going on.
This is a hard film to take in. It is beautifully tragic and offers up something that is worthy of the controversy and in my opinion a brilliant piece of filmmaking. It is both an engaging experiment and one that will divide people right down the middle. Love it or hate it, it opens up dialogue on its undertones and does what any good piece of film does and makes you think. The strong religious and environmental aspects could cross the line as offensive to some and well-conceived by others, but there is no denying that it stands out all its own. I totally get the mixed debate on it and the lack of connection with your average audience since most people just want to mindlessly stare at the screen and be force fed every detail in movies and this film stays far away from that. I applaud Aronofsky and the cast for taking on such an original project that was a gamble with connecting to viewers and think this is a film everyone should see at least once and make your own decision.
In addition to the film this release also includes featurettes that take viewers behind the scenes of bringing this film to life. Witness the struggle with mother! available now on Digital HD and then on 4K Ultra HD™ and Blu-ray™ Combo Packs December 19, 2017 from Paramount Home Entertainment.