mother! – Day 2 NaBloPoMo 2017

mother! (2017). Directed by Darren Aronofsky.

I have been a fan of Aronofsky’s films since his low-budget first feature Pi (1998) and I’m one of the few people I know who actually liked Noah (2014), despite Russell Crowe and Ray Winstone’s macho posturing. (The key with Noah in my opinion, is to look at it as a reimagining of a mythological text, rather than a straight retelling of the biblical story).

It should come as no surprise then that I really enjoyed mother! though it took me quite a while to process it. I saw this at my local, the State Cinema in North Hobart about a month ago and I think it must be the most divisive film of 2017.

This is an intense experience despite the very simple set up. It becomes a fast-paced drama very quickly and I found it hard at times to keep up, which I suspect is Aronofsky’s aim. Right from the outset, I felt a sense of claustrophobia, exacerbated by the camera which sits on or very close to Jennifer Lawrence for the entire film. Lawrence is sensational by the way, and Javier Bardem as her writer husband matches her. Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer are wonderful and the brief scene with real-life brothers, Brian and Domhnall Gleeson as their sons, is explosive and excellent.

Without spoiling the film, to me this is a psychological drama and a magical realism allegory. There is little here that is straightforward or easy watching, it isn’t a film where I could leave my brain at the door and just sit back and be entertained, something I love to do sometimes too. Of course, there are multiple ways to read a film, and I’m very keen to see this again when it comes out on DVD.

It’s no surprise to me that many people really disliked mother! Brave, innovative storytelling in cinema isn’t safe – it takes risks. And while this film doesn’t work all of the time in ways I enjoyed, I love it for having that bravery to take chances.

I found mother! triggered some things in me that required careful processing. Though it was uncomfortable, I feel ultimately a little wiser about my own foibles, a little richer for the experience. And ultimately, the film has stayed with me in a very enjoyable way. In my opinion, these are some of the many things art is supposed to do.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tobia | craftaliciousme
    Nov 03, 2017 @ 16:50:48

    Hey Debra,
    I have not heard of this movie but it does sound intriguing but yet very intense. I might have to have a closer look.
    Happy day to you

    Liked by 1 person


    • Debra Manskey
      Nov 03, 2017 @ 17:04:33

      Hi Tobia,
      It’s a very recent release here in Australia and divided audiences and critics. You’re in Germany yes? I’m not sure if it’s been released there yet but I encourage people to watch it and make up their own minds.



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