mother!

mother! is a 2017 American psychological horror film written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, and starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Aronofsky’s films are not for everyone. Well, atleast some of them aren’t. His themes and film making style are off the beaten path. I have enjoyed some of his films but this one – I am still not sure after one viewing.

The story follows a couple, Him and mother who have moved into a house in the country. We first see Him an acclaimed poet struggling with severe writer’s block, places a crystal object on a pedestal, and the burnt out house changes into a renovated look. Mother sees visions in the house, including a beating heart in the walls. Man (Ed Harris) comes to their house one day, mistaking the house for a B&B but Him insists that he stay the night, despite Mother having reservations. In the night Man experiences prolonged coughing fits and Mother catches a glimpse of a fresh wound near his rib area before her husband covers it with his hand.

The next day he is better but his wife, Woman, comes in and she too is staying in the house though Mother makes it clear to Him that he should discuss with her before making these decisions. We learn that both the guests are fans of Him’s work and Man is dying. However, when Man and Woman accidentally break and shatter the crystallized object, Mother decides to kick them out. But the two sons of Man & Woman come in and start arguing about the will and one thing leads to another when The Oldest Son, who is left with nothing, mortally injures his Younger Brother and apparently flees, while Him, Man, and Woman take the injured son to get help. Upon returning, Him informs Mother that the son has died.

Dozens of people begin arriving at the house in the wake of the dead son. More people arrive, and behave in a way that bothers Mother; she becomes angrier and eventually snaps when they flood the house. She kicks everyone out. Angry with Him for allowing so many people into the house for his pleasure and ignoring her, she berates him before the two engage in sex. Mother becomes pregnant and Him is inspired to write again and his work is well received. Months later as his work is published, Mother sets a nice dinner to celebrate but a cult of people who are fans of Him come to the house and come in. Their behavior devolves into stealing their belongings as keepsakes and disrupting the environment.

An increasingly disoriented Mother makes her way around the house as each room devolves into chaos. Him’s publisher, the Herald, takes part in the madness. Military men with guns arrive to help Mother, but a cult of devoted fans forms around Him; they start to engage in rituals. Mother goes into labour and gives birth to a baby boy and Him wants to show the baby to the mob outside the room they are in but she refuses. When she falls asleep, however, he takes the baby outside to the crowd, who grab him and break his neck. Devastated, Mother makes her way to the front of the crowd where she sees the hacked corpse of her baby and witnesses the crowd eating his flesh. Furious at them, she calls them murderers and begins stabbing them with a shard of broken glass.

They turn on her, beginning to strip and beat her until Him intervenes and stops it. Mother escapes the grasp of the crowd and makes her way to the cellar and the oil tank for the furnace. Despite her husband’s pleas, Mother sets the oil on fire, destroying the crowd, the house, and the surrounding garden and trees. Mother survives but is horribly burned while Him remains unaffected. He asks her for her love and she agrees; he  tears open her chest, removing her heart in the process. As he opens up the heart with his hands, a new crystal object is revealed. He places the object in its pedestal. Once again, the house changes from a burnt-out husk to a newly renovated house. A new Mother forms in a bed and wakes up, wondering aloud where Him is.

Got all that? It’s basically a retelling of Christianity in a different perspective. You have god in Him, the earth perhaps in mother, Adam, Eve, Cain & Abel and humanity and I suppose the baby is Jesus. The crowd is humanity blah blah blah. I found the movie a bit tedious to watch and a bit preachy if you can call it that. It was also a bit boring to watch. I give it a …..hmmm….7 outta 10! I like the concept but not the end product.

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