Black Swan was good, but I will argue it was as good as it was because of its actors. In contrast, films like The Fountain or Noah were utterly terrible. I therefore did not expect much out of Mother!, either, but gave it a go on account of its actors: not necessarily Jennifer Lawrence or Javier Bardem in the leads, but rather the ever awesome Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer in supporting roles.
I will start at the end: Mother! gets my thumbs up, but not because of its actors (who are as good as expected, don’t get me wrong). It gets it because of Aronofsky himself. Whether this is a case of “accidents do happen” or whether there is more to it is another matter; I suspect that, given the director’s affection with mysticism and such, it is quite unlikely he & I will see eye to eye again any time soon.
Anyways, let’s talk about the movie itself. It features Lawrence as the exceptionally young wife of Bardem, with the couple living in Bardem’s childhood residence, somewhere pretty remote from anything else (on top of which, they don’t even have wifi and only have one landline!). That house was previously burnt down, so Lawrence is busy doing a wonderful job rebuilding it while Bardem, a writer, spends his time trying to come up with that piece of literature in him that he repeatedly has problems coming up with.
That Garden of Eden of a status quo is interrupted when a guest appears out of nowhere (Harris). They don’t know him, he’s there because of a wrong address kind of a mistake, but to Lawrence’s horror he’s taken in by Bardem. It doesn’t end there; soon, Harris’ wife arrives (Pfeiffer), then his kids, then all sorts of related people. The house gets fuller and fuller of people disrespecting its fragile nature, and no one bothers to listen to Lawrence. Eventually, the disrespectful guests break a pipe and the whole house floods.
Chaos continues despite the post flood’s temporary relief. Soon enough, our couple’s ordeals reach the level of the surreal, at which point I pointed a finger at Aronofsky again (a force of habit, I assume). But then there is a scene that explains the chaos [sorry, no bloopers here] and lets us figure out the symbolism behind everything we had watched thus far, and suddenly it all made sense.
Even better, for the first time I found myself in a position where I was applauding Aronofsky for his statement and criticism of the society we live in.
Given its nature, Mother! is not a movie one watches for the sake of entertainment. If one is interested in an artistic statement delivered through good actors, one will enjoy it nevertheless.
3.5 out of 5 crabs.