D: Darren Aronofsky
Paramount/Protozoa (Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin & Ari Handel)
W: Darren Aronofsky
DP: Matthew Libatique
Ed: Andrew Weisblum
Jennifer Lawrence ('Mother'), Javier Bardem ('Him'), Ed Harris ('man'), Michelle Pfeiffer ('woman'), Domnhall Gleeson ('oldest son'), Brian Gleeson ('younger brother')
Mother (stylised as "mother!") is without a doubt the most polarising movie of late 2017, with the audience members either loving it or absolutely loathing it, and very little going somewhere in-between.
Like Darren Aronofsky's other works (Black Swan, Requiem For A Dream), it's in a genre of its own, paying homage to horror imagery and hugely metaphorical, allowing the viewer free licence to decide what the point of it all is. It's understandable why some people would call his style pretentious, but his filmmaking does have its fans.
The story of Mother unfolds like a David Lynch nightmare, set wholly at a idyllic house in the middle of a picturesque meadow, where the virginal and chaste Jennifer Lawrence lives with her poet husband Javier Bardem. Neither of the characters are named, credited only as 'mother' and 'him' respectively.
Their peaceful existence is interrupted by a couple who mistake the house for a B&B, and are invited to stay by 'him', against the wishes of 'mother'. Before long, more and more unwanted visitors arrive and their behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and unwelcome to the point of brutal violence at the culmination of the story.
The puzzling style of the film leaves much open to interpretation, and the general consensus is that it's a dramatic revisualisation of biblical stories, where even the house is portrayed as a living, breathing entity.
It really won't be a film for all audiences and will only be recommended if you like Aronofsky's previous work or the films of David Lynch. A disservice to the film was done by the distribution company's marketing department, who aimed the film at traditional horror fans rather than the arthouse audience it will have much more appeal to.