Cert: 18; Now showing
For about 85 of its 121 minute running time, Mother! is a reasonably straightforward film. It’s claustrophobic and increasingly creepy but you are still unprepared for the frantic, relentless assault that it becomes towards the end.
Inevitably, reviews like this will take the sting out of that end for viewers, however it is still one of the most shocking barrages of images and concepts that will hit the screen this or any year.
I have an interpretation of what Darren Aronofsky’s latest film is about, but mine is one among many and I cannot say with any certainty that I understood the film. As a piece of cinema it is remarkable, well made, well-acted, original and thought-provoking, but although for many people it will be love or hate, I felt surprisingly unengaged with it on an emotional level.
None of the characters have names. There is a young woman (Jennifer Lawrence) who is married to an older man (Javier Bardem). They live in his old home which was once destroyed by fire and which she has painstakingly and personally reconstructed, believing the effort and environment will unblock her once successful writer husband. A strange man (Ed Harris) appears and is shortly joined by his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) and they both proceed to trample on the young wife’s boundaries. Their sons (Brian and Domhnall Gleeson) arrive and the mildly peculiar begins to escalate. My interpretation is based on one of the few expository lines in the film: “You don’t love me, you love how much I love you,” and in my view it’s a film about the destruction wrought by loving a narcissist. But that’s one view of many. The brave-hearted should go see for themselves.