Mother! review: A home renovation nightmare

Mother!

Dear God, I have no idea what to say about this movie, or even to start to review it. In my movie alone, I counted three walkouts. That’s three people who will never watch another Aronfonsky movie. And even I’m leaning towards the fence of do I want to watch another claustrophobic, mentally-violent movie of a woman breaking down? Not really?

In short, the movie is about Jennifer Lawrence who is the wife to Javier Bardem, a poet with writer’s block. She spends a lot of time renovating their big, beautiful house and then they get some visitors, Ed Harris and Michelle Pffeifer ..and it all goes to sh!t.

Some people are going to love this movie and they’re going to lose it over the artistic merit of it, I myself spent a good amount of this movie with my eyes shut, trying not to throw up. Remember how I mentioned claustrophobic up top? Aronfonsky’s camera goes right up to people’s faces and never lets go, the camera follows Jen and Javier – Blair Witch style, in and out of rooms. The house is massive, but you never see the size of the rooms, because it’s always close-up on someone’s face or moving behind their heads. I lost count of the amount of times Jen went up the stairs. It was disorienting to the point of distraction.

A lot of people much smarter than me, figured out the story metaphor pretty much straight away. However for the ordinary Joes among us (and I say this with a catholic school background and a genuine interest in history) there is no way the allusions are clear as to what is happening to Jen and Javier. I’m not asking Aronfonsky to dumb it down (or maybe I am) but think of us poor mofos who don’t understand why there’s a riot in the house.

As for the acting, it’s Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer. Needless to say, they all kick it out of the park, particularly Michelle as the saucy visitor’s wife. I don’t believe I’ve seen MF do menacing before, you don’t want to get on the wrong side of that lady.

I wouldn’t recommend Mother! There were some great performances alongside incoherent script and direction. Possibly there are awards for Jennifer on the other side, but for me and those people that walked out, Mother! is a hard pass.

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