Movie Review: “Mother!” Doesn’t Deserve the Exclamation Point

Yuchen Jin, Contributing Writer

The parable of Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” is experienced in one of two ways: it either completely flies over your head or it is a nun repeatedly beating you over the head with a Bible.

The film is centered around a married couple living in a beautiful, isolated house. No characters are named; they’re only referred to by epithets or pronouns. The titular character, Mother (Jennifer Lawrence), is married to a poet, “Him” (Javier Bardem), who is suffering from writer’s block. Mother dedicates all her time to taking care of the housekeeping while the poet agonizes over his work until two strangers, Man (Ed Harris) and Woman (Michelle Pfeiffer), show up and reignite his livelihood and creativity. Mother reluctantly allows them to stay in her precious home, but soon more strangers show up and the house descends into chaos.

If you know to look for it going into the movie, the biblical metaphor becomes abundantly transparent. The film personifies mother nature and shows humans destroying her while God stands by and revels in their attention and worship. In short, it’s meant to represent climate change.

The cast is littered with Oscar winners and nominees who all give solid performances, but the film isn’t particularly character- driven. The sole purpose of the character Lawrence plays is to react to the abuse she repeatedly suffers at the hands of the others, to no end.

The film is branded as shocking but it leans more towards gratuitous gore than shock. The problem it doesn’t make the audience care enough about Mother or the house to draw an emotional response to the two falling apart. The film is supposed to be a warning about the dire consequences of global warming but the message is ultimately lost in all the spectacle.