Saturday, September 23, 2017

mother!: Monday, September 18 2017

Director and writer Darren Aronofsky (48) wrote the script for mother! in five days, and filmed it in 12 weeks. He is a prolific directer, and included in his work is Pi (1997), Black Swan (2010), and Noah (2014). This film comes flowing out of his artistic, subconscious mind.

Jennifer Lawrence (27) stars as Mother, Javier Bardem is Him, Michelle Pfeiffer is Woman, and Ed Harris is Man. The acting is superb, as is the direction. The cinematography is interesting, and there is no musical score, per se.

mother! (2017), billed as a psychological horror experimental film, it is something quite different from the billing. The audience doesn't seem to be "getting" it. It would appear that the general viewing public are giving it an "F" grading, which would seem to be a "Fail". The box office is responding accordingly. When I came out of the film, the impression I had been left with, was that this was the very worst movie I had ever seen. My friends echoed these sentiments.

The problem for the film viewer lies in what should be the story. mother! is not the ordinary psychological horror film it is billed as being, where there is at least some rational behind the story. The unfolding we see on the screen seems unreal, and Aronofski says he is using dream-logic narrative, and nothing should be taken too literally. This leads on to the reason why the critics are not all panning the film. It has to be taken as allegory. As such, everything falls into place.

Darren Aronofski
There is more than one allegory that can be deciphered. The first one that came to my mind was that of the narcissistic Man who destroys the women in his life: first his mother, then his wives. The second was that of the narcissistic Artist who allows his need for adulation from an audience to ruin his relationship with his mother, then his wives. The third allegory is related to the present political world of American politics. The fourth obvious allegory is to the idea that the human primate is ruining Mother Earth. Lawrence as mother, represents Mother Earth. Javier Bardem as Him is the Creator God. Michelle Pfeiffer as Woman is the first woman, Eve. Ed Harris as Man is the first man, Adam. And so on!

Symbolism is another strong feature in mother! The House could be taken as the Life of Him. It is destroyed with the death of his mother, and his second wife is doing her best to restore it for him. In the end, she only destroys herself, along with the House. The Crystal could be symbolic of the Life Force in Him. He takes it back out of his mother when she is destroyed, and also out of his second wife when she has been ruined. We could go on and on. Everyone would have their own interpretation of the symbols.

Guernica by Picasso
This is the genius behind this film. There are layers upon layers of meaning to be extracted from it, even if a little bit obviously. It's not meant to be an ordinary film, although it unfortunately is being billed as being such. It reminds me of Guernica by Picasso. That painting wasn't meant to be beautiful, or entertaining. It was meant to evoke strong emotions. It is considered by many as the most powerful anti-war statement in the history of art. mother! also isn't meant to be simple entertainment. It is Art in its highest form. The film evokes the same dark emotions that any of the allegories it represents arouses in the viewer. It is a brilliant piece of cinematic Art. It is no more to be enjoyed than is Picasso's Guernica.

If you are expecting to enjoy being frightened by a horror movie, this film is not for you. It is horrific; it is not enjoyable. But then, narcissistic men, narcissistic artists, ugly political worlds, and ecological disasters are not enjoyable either.

If you want to have an opinion on a film that will long be talked about, mother! has to be viewed so that you can develop your own opinion on the work. Art is meant to create discussion, and provoke thought. mother! does both.

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