The mother of all metaphors

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Film - With Ju­lian Wright

LOOK­ING for sub­tlety? Look else­where other than Dar­ren Aronof­sky’s Mother! (the ex­cla­ma­tion point in the ti­tle should be a dead giveaway).

He made us squirm through Re­quiem for a Dream and Black Swan, and this time di­als the crazy up to an al­most un­bear­able 12 and puts an­other young Hol­ly­wood A-lis­ter through a cin­e­matic night­mare.

An ac­claimed mid­dle aged poet (Javier Bar­dem) and his young wife (Jen­nifer Lawrence), known only as Him and Mother re­spec­tively, seem to have the per­fect re­la­tion­ship in their iso­lated home.

But he is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly emo­tion­ally dis­tant, per­haps brought on by frus­tra­tions with his writer’s block.

Greater pres­sure is ap­plied to the re­la­tion­ship with the out-of-the-blue ar­rival of a pair of nosey strangers (Ed Har­ris and Michelle Pfeif­fer), who claim to be a doc­tor and wife but turn out to be fans. The prob­lem is they make them­selves at home and the poet is far too wel­com­ing and ac­com­mo­dat­ing, much to his young wife’s con­fu­sion and un­ease.

There is some­thing off-kil­ter right from the get-go, with the graphic im­age of a burn­ing Lawrence and an ap­par­ently mag­i­cal crys­tal, which is only ex­ac­er­bated by the ‘in­tru­sion’.

But this is just Aronof­sky warm­ing up and you will never guess where this ends up. His story gets more bonkers as it goes along, an elab­o­rate and on­go­ing metaphor for the stages lead­ing up to and in­clud­ing moth­er­hood, and the roles men and women play.

From the brief syn­op­sis, it is in­deed a leap to be dis­cussing themes of moth­er­hood and fan­dom, but to de­tail too much of the plot that fills in those gaps would ruin the sur­prise.

What Mother! does il­lus­trate, with the ex­treme sit­u­a­tions de­picted, is the hell that women go through.

What be­gins as an eerie thriller soon cat­a­pults into bizarre ter­ri­tory.

But the cast holds it to­gether; a con­stantly be­wil­dered Lawrence nav­i­gates the go­ings on while Pfeif­fer shines as the far too for­ward stranger.

Jen­nifer Lawrence stars in Dar­ren Aronof­sky’s Mother!.

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