‘Mother!’ is a shock­ing roller-coaster ride

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Amy Longs­dorf For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Open­ing this week­end, the new thriller (star­ring Jen­nifer Lawrence) is a brain ben­der.

Since mak­ing a huge splash two decades ago with “Pi,” film­maker Dar­ren Aronof­sky has only di­rected seven films, in­clud­ing such long-ges­tat­ing en­tries as “Re­quiem For a Dream” and “Black Swan.”

But now Aronof­sky is back with a new movie “Mother!” which, he says, came to­gether with a shock­ing speed­i­ness.

A hit on the fes­ti­val cir­cuit, the dark thriller stars Aronof­sky’s off­screen girl­friend Jen­nifer Lawrence as a woman who is busy re­fur­bish­ing a mam­moth house she shares with her mu­cholder hus­band (Javier Bar­dem) when two strangers (Ed Har­ris, Michelle Pfeif­fer) come to call.

As a critic for Bri­tain’s Tele­graph wrote, “Mother!” is a mad, trans­fix­ing, rolling thunder-crash of a film…A sick joke, an ur­gent warn­ing and a roar into the abyss, Mother! earns its ex­cla­ma­tion mark three times over and more.”

For Aronof­sky, it’s not the weird­ness of the sub­ject mat­ter that is a stretch for him – nearly all of his movies pulse to a very dark beat – but rather the way the project came to­gether in a flash of in­spi­ra­tion.

“It was a strange ex­pe­ri­ence,” he says. “Most of my films take many, many years to come to life. “Black Swan” was 10 years, “Noah” was 20 years, and this film hap­pened in five days.

“So, it was a strange thing. I think it came out of liv­ing on this planet and see­ing what’s hap­pen­ing around us, and not be­ing able to do any­thing about it.

“I had a lot of rage and anger and I just wanted to chan­nel it into one emo­tion, into one feel­ing, and in five days I wrote the first ver­sion of the script. It just sort of poured out of me.

“Af­ter I wrote it, I showed it to Jen­nifer and she was re­ally ex­cited by the idea and sud­denly, we were mak­ing a movie.”

In movies like “Win­ter’s Bone,” “The Hunger Games” and “The Sil­ver Lin­ings Play­book,” Lawrence has made a spe­cialty out of play­ing women who, when backed into a cor­ner, come out swing­ing. The ac­tress’s un­named char­ac­ter in “Mother!” is a much dif­fer­ent kind of beast, a woman eas­ily be­wil­dered by all that’s go­ing on around her.

“It was a com­pletely dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter from any­thing I’ve ever done be­fore but it was also a com­pletely dif­fer­ent side of my­self that I wasn’t in touch with and I didn’t re­ally know yet,” says Lawrence, 27. “It was a part of me that Dar­ren re­ally helped me get in touch with. It was dif­fi­cult. It was the most I’ve ever had to pull out of my­self.”

When he was shap­ing “Mother!,” Aronof­sky ad­mits to be­ing in­flu­enced by a wide range of in­flu­ences in­clud­ing Luis Buñuel’s “The Ex­ter­mi­nat­ing An­gel,” the chil­dren’s book “The Giv­ing Tree” and a book of po­etry by Su­san Grif­fin called “Women in Na­ture.”

“[The movie[ builds on that old idea that some­thing that hap­pens in Bei­jing can af­fect us in New York City,” says the film­maker.

“You can have a beau­ti­ful place like Cen­tral Park in New York and you can have Aleppo in Syria and it’s all done by hu­man hand. Yet most of the fights we have are with our neigh­bor over where the fence is go­ing to go.

“I kind of wanted to take the idea that here we all are, in this one home…Ev­ery­one can iden­tify if some­one comes over to your house and throws a piece of garbage on your floor or burns a hole in your car­pet with their cig­a­rette but they don’t un­der­stand [why it is wrong] if they throw a piece of pa­per out on the street.

“It was very in­spired by Luis Buñuel’s “The Ex­ter­mi­nat­ing An­gel,” which took [mem­bers of the] so­cial struc­ture and stuffed them all into a world and watched it as it un­wound.”

Aronof­sky, 48, is the first to ad­mit that “Mother” is strong stuff and not for ev­ery­one.

“I’ve been say­ing that this movie is my howl to the moon,” he notes.

“I think it’s a very, very strong cock­tail and of course there are go­ing to be peo­ple who are not go­ing to want that type of an ex­pe­ri­ence, and that’s fine.

“I’ve been very clear that this is a roller coaster ride. So only come on it if you’re re­ally pre­pared to do the loop de loop a few times.”

PHOTO BY GREG ALLEN/INVISION/AP

Dar­ren Aronof­sky, from left, Jen­nifer Lawrence and Javier Bar­dem at­tend the pre­miere of Para­mount Pic­tures’ “Mother!” at Ra­dio City Mu­sic Hall on Wed­nes­day in New York.

NIKO TAVERNISE/PARA­MOUNT PIC­TURES AND PROTOZOA PIC­TURES VIA AP

This im­age re­leased by Para­mount Pic­tures shows Jen­nifer Lawrence in a scene from “mother!”

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