ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Aronofsky's Allegory: mother!

Updated on October 1, 2017

Promotional still

Source

Synopsis

The movie mother! takes place in a secluded old home where life is seldom peaceful. Jennifer Lawrence stars as the title character, a young wife in the process of rehabbing the home she shares with her man, a celebrated poet known as Him (Javier Bardem). Mother sees strange things before things get stranger. Him invites Man (Ed Harris), a terminally ill doctor who has admired Him's work, but has never before met the couple. The next day, his wife, Woman (Michelle Pfeiffer), comes looking for him. She starts to roam around the house as if she owned it, against the wishes of Mother. None of this intrusion fazes Him. In fact, he welcomes their presence, as though their private life should have no privacy. Things get worse when Man and Woman's Eldest Son (Domhnall Gleeson) and a Younger Brother (Brian Gleeson) arrive. A dispute over inheritance leads Eldest Son killing his sibling. Him opens the house to the mourners until Mother asks them to leave.

Once alone, Mother and Him argue, but the argument leads to intimacy. When she awakens, Mother tells him she's pregnant. This announcement ends Him's long-dormant creativity, and the poem he writes and gets published soon becomes a huge success. The celebration of the publication brings more throngs to the house, including Him's literary agent, Herald (Kristen Wiig). The throngs are more unruly than before as the very pregnant Mother tries to stop the visitors from totally trashing the home. When that fails, she finds a quiet room, where she grants access to Him alone.

Evaluation

I have read that many people have noted religious allegory in mother! While I can see biblical stories such as Cain and Abel and Jesus Christ in the story on reflection, I saw something different in this film from writer-director Darren Aronofsky. I saw a story about fame and its effect on the artist and his immediate family. I saw Him as an artist who creates, and loves sharing his creation with the world. Mother understands Him's desire to create, but doesn't understand his generosity, especially when that generosity becomes excessive. That situation grows heavier on Mother, for Him seems unconcerned for her well-being. While I remained interested in where the story went, I disgusted with Him's treatment of Mother. Him, as either an artist or a Christ figure, comes across as more self-absorbed than generous. Mother! has the darkness of Aronofsky's most successful film, Black Swan, but mother! is more frenetic than Aronofsky's dark take on Swan Lake. I also found the cinematography of Matthew Libatique too distracting, as it is often darkly lit. My eyes had to adjust when the light went from very dark to totally bright at a couple of points in the film.

Lawrence is the best part of the film as the title character, who gives a sympathetic performance as Mother, who finds her best efforts in creating a stable and loving home going unappreciated. Not only does Him not seem to care, but neither do the guests who clearly realize they are not in their own home. When Mother asks people not to do things, they go right ahead and do them anyway the second Mother turns her back. The film sees her turn from loving homemaker to someone desperately trying to keep anything of significant meaning. Bardem gives an interesting performance as Him, a man more interested in sharing and adoration than any space of his own. The same goes for Wiig as a most unusual agent as Herald. Harris and Pfeiffer do their best in their limited screen time.

Conclusion

Mother! is clearly a film that leaves itself open to interpretation. Viewers have sometimes found a message in this picture that they embrace, but I could find little to embrace in this enigma of a creative work. Aronofsky has shown he can successfully challenge an audience with his vision, but in mother! he seems to challenge anyone watching his film to care.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give mother! two stars. I suspect the title is just half of what some would tell the director about this release.

Mother! trailer

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)