Spoiler Warning! Strongly Recommend Watching mother! Before Continuing To Read
In the lead up to his supposed home invasion movie mother! Darren Aronofsky gave nothing away. Yet from the beginning, a few subtleties in the first half of the film indicated that these characters were quite unlike the audience first expected.
This is a movie that is both hard-hitting and entertaining. Possibly not for everyone, it is sure to be seen as a masterpiece in time. Aronofsky is brutal in his portrayal of humanity, critiquing man through the spiritual and environmental.
As the plot advances, viewers unexpectantly find themselves wrapped up in a thorough account of The Bible. mother! creates a world all for itself. The location never changes and you never see beyond the meadow surrounding the Victorian home where the couple live. A meadow that is symbolic of Eden.
The film is a contained planet of its own. A planet that documents The Book of Genesis, modern warfare and the deterioration of Earth through extended metaphor and a single setting.
A Biblical Allegory.
As soon as you pick up on the Biblical referencing, it’s all you see. Aronofsky relies on clichés any analytical mind could pick up on:
Jennifer Lawrence’s mother nature (the long-suffering housewife who gives and gives until she can give no more), is seen periodically drinking a yellow liquid. Perhaps a direct nod to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper? A theory supported by Lawrence’s recurring visions of a beating heart in the walls.
Additionally, this is offset by the vain poet Javier Bardem (God) who becomes ever motivated by the obsession of his followers.
Bring in Michelle Pfeiffer’s Eve and suddenly the couple’s paradise is disturbed! Eve becomes increasingly fixated on a crystal (the apple) in Bardem’s study! A crystal she accidentally destroys. It is here we begin to see Eden crumble.
Despite this, it is not so figurative that it is inaccessible.
Aronofsky is careful in his structure. The movie has a clear beginning, middle and end. It is slow moving and sinister in the opening. Tranquil and hopeful at it’s middle, it descends into a hellish nightmare before returning to exactly where it began. The plot is cyclical in its never-ending commentary of the failure of man to get it right.
Aronofsky ties up the ending so tightly, that perhaps he does too much of the legwork for the audience. In regards to this, while it is a think piece, those who are not as aware of the Bible’s teachings or with traumas in the world neither need to be nor necessarily leave any more educated on such matters.
It can be experienced for entertainment only, as it is a film that places its success entirely on audience reaction. Variety.com surmising it as an allegory of ‘everything and nothing at the same time’, concluding that it can mean as little or as much as an individual decides it does.