In the movie realm, it’s widely known that Darren Aronofsky’s artistry in films consists of rather controversial, surreal and disturbing themes that create a chaotic imagery among the viewer’s mind. His intense and vivid use of dark themes do create an uncomfortable persona especially in his 1998 psychological thriller Pi, and his well-known Academy Award winning Motion Picture Black Swan in 2010. His new film, “Mother!,” lives up to Aronofsky’s dark standards as he tells the horrific story about the troubled nameless wife (Jennifer Lawrence) of a narcissistic poet (Javier Bardem) finds herself in a marital trial as her also nameless husband invites a couple over to stay at their home, the home that Mother wanted to exclusively keep to herself and her husband. Will Aronofsky’s Mother! execute just as well as his predecessors, or will it be a vast disappointment to his artistry?
There’s no denying that this horror/thriller film does have a psychologically questionable plot. First we see a devoted, and dedicated housewife who spends her time rebuilding and repainting her and her husband’s octagonal Victorian-inspired home; as a result of the house falling victim to a catastrophic fire. The setting stays relatively close to their home for a long duration of time, and only goes as far as the couple’s yard, so there is a common theme of isolation and exclusivity throughout this film, which does create a suffocating tone for the characters, but especially for the viewer seeing as they are not aware of this limited space and the dangers that come with it.
Not long after, Bardem’s character spontaneously welcomes in a rather perplexing and inscrutable couple and fans of the poet (Ed Harris & Michelle Pfeiffer) who ask for a place to stay. Seeing as Lawrence’s character did not want this decision to occur, this is what builds the tension as the film progresses; along with her growing sense of anxiety and complete isolation from not only the couple, but her beloved husband.
To not input any spoilers for the movie, Mother! has it’s fair share of dark, twisted comedy and drama that builds into a melodramatic sequence of overwhelming and overbearing responses from each character. The climax reaches a thematic madness that will even send the viewer out of their mind for a solid half-hour. Aronofksy makes sure to deliver a film that not only gives the utmost suspense to the viewer, but also haunts them in the most melodramatic manner possible.
Mother! is certainly NOT a film for the faint-hearted, especially with the extensive use of overbearing camera work, which reaches for an unsettling imagery among the viewer. It may be a bit ‘too much’ or dramatic to say the least, but it abides to Aronofsky’s artistry that is the themes of dark isolation and haunting imagery.