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It’s a powerful word at the best of times, but the exclamation mark gives it that edge of delirium and melodrama and despair, Mother! 2017. Darren upcoming movie escalates the anxiety and ups the ante of dismay with every scene, every act and every trimester.
The opening act gives us a view of a human heart being flushed down the lavatory as metaphor for any mysterious, hallucinatory and callousness in the movie. Mother! Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem join the movie as the leads, and we also have Michelle Pfeiffer back to the big screen playing a pleasingly cruel supporting role.
Lawrence and Bardem play a married couple living in a colossal house in the middle of nowhere. They live together so seemingly perfect, but they have no children, and that brings problem. Yet, their emotional stagnancy is shaken up by the appearance of a strange visitor knocking at the door late one night. Instantly, affable and even exuberant, the husband agree for the stranger stay for a night, and to his young wife’s silent astonishment starts chatting raucously with the stranger, drinking whisky with him and letting him smoke in the house.
Then the stranger’s wife shows up who is casually disrespectful of Lawrence’s position as mistress of the house. She starts offering deeply unwelcome and impertinent advice about how to keep their marriage fresh. As if in a nightmare, this strange couple invade the house. The evil effectively impregnates Lawrence’s character as the strangers have alchemized the evil into goodness and a burgeoning new life. The prospect of a baby appears to be a happy ending which cancels the ordeal which she has just endured for her husband’s sake. Yet, her troubles are just beginning.
Lawrence carries the Mother! movie. Aronofsky keeps his camera close into her face almost all of the time: her creamy, waxy youthfulness and beauty fill the screen and immediately transmit the displeasure and disquiet that she must keep under control. Bardem’s slab of his wife’s face is closely monitored: responding to her furious complaints with a complacent, seraphic smile, treating her like an uncomprehending child or a bovine icon, orbiting him as the centre of a glorious new belief system which will be in place as his published works inspire more and more people.
Mother! 2017 reminds me of the musical The Book of Mormon: it could be about the birth of a new religion with all the irrational absurdity, vanity and celebrity worship that this entails, or it could be a satirical portrait of a marriage and the humiliation involved in catering for a sleekly pompous man old enough to be your father. On the other hand, it maybe just about the gleeful anarchy involved in destruction, in simply taking the audience on a series of stomach-turning quantum leaps into madness.