Darren Aronofsky Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer 2 hours, 1 min.
one is set almost nine months later, with Jennifer very pregnant, her husband’s creative powers fully restored, and yet another group of unwanted visitors banging on the door.
The less said here the better, but all the cinematic tricks Aronofsky has used in the first half — closeups, tightly framed handheld shots in claustrophobic rooms (don’t sit too near the screen), a super-cranked sound design that includes the house creaking and groaning and sighing like an arthritic choir, halfcomprehensible echoes from other rooms, squishy liquids in unexpected places — they’re all back in even greater force, along with violence, sexuality and language of the sort you’re only likely to hear again if they cast Samuel L. Jackson in a remake of Lord of the Flies.
It’s an almost painful experience, with Jennifer front and centre as the audience surrogate in this nightmare scenario, her face a twisted grimace of fear and revulsion that seemed overdone until I felt my jaw and realized I was doing pretty much the same thing myself.
This is the director’s most powerful movie to date — it makes Noah look like a Sunday-school picnic — but it’s a raw power, not contained by anything resembling realistic, flesh-and-blood characters. The emotion is there, as is the symbolism, but it’s not in the service of something greater. And disappointingly, once you crack the movie’s metaphorical code, it ceases to surprise, if not to shock.
Perhaps coincidentally, this is the director’s first feature in which he is also the sole writer. The result is a movie in love with itself. I’m glad I caught up with Mother!, if only to join in the inevitable debate about its worthiness — but unlike Aronofsky’s The Wrestler and especially Black Swan, I have no desire to see it again. email@example.com