Mother!

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - CINEMA - AINE O’CON­NOR

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.

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