by Kevin Muller
Forget everything you have seen or heard about this film. Don’t seek out any spoilers or explanations about the film either. This is probably the most controversial studio film to be released in an extremely long time. People always complain that there is no originality in Hollywood anymore, well, it is time to put up or shut up. You may not like this one, but you can’t say it is like anything you’ve seen before. Even as a movie critic, it is an extremely hard one to review without giving it all away.
Jennifer Lawrence plays a young wife of an established poet. The poet, played by Javier Bardem, tries to formulate his next big work locked away in his study. The only thing that gives him solace is a bright crystal that sits on the shelf in the room. Soon after, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfieffer, playing a couple whose intentions aren’t clear, come and start to interrupt the quiet life Lawrence and Bardem live, tucked away in the middle of the woods. Lawrence feels that something is astray the more time the two spend in the house. The two start to question the marriage of the poet and his young wife too and to describe the couple as rude and intrusive would be an understatement. The couple have their own problems that come into the house and shake up the foundation of their home and lives.
Director Darren Aronofsky, who gave us 2008’s “The Wrestler,” and 2010’s whacked out “Black Swan,” definitely had complete creative control here. This is an art film with a Hollywood budget. Almost the entirety of the film is focused on Lawrence and the camera is right up in her face. Her performance guides us through the 120 minute run time and she does it without any problem. Outside of the controversy of this film, it really shows how good of an actress Jennifer Lawrence is and that the Oscar she won back in 2013, wasn’t a fluke. The entirety of the film takes place in that house and Aronofsky creates such a claustrophobic environment with his camera work. The cinematography adds to every emotion that Aronofsky strives for. It is a film with such a heightened sense of urgency and paranoia and it may not have the commercial value of “The Wrestler” or “Black Swan,” but it does have something to say.
That is one of the film’s biggest faults though. If it was a 90 minute film, instead of 120, it would’ve been a near masterpiece. Aronofsky gets to play with his over the top ideas, and it does work, but he definitely overstays his welcome in the last 30 minutes. The over excess of ideas and metaphors comes at you so hard, that you feel like Lawrence is drained and down for the count.
Your reaction to this film will either be good or bad, there isn’t any in between. Mother is a picture that is the definition of polarizing, but well done. With that being said, it is completely understandable with the reaction it is getting. If you buy into what the film is trying to accomplish, it is a very interesting ride that will make you revisit the film.You may think it is terrible, boring, outrageous, or brilliant, but one thing you can’t say that it isn’t is…. Unoriginal! Aronofsky definitely has balls and they are on full display here.
I am giving Mother a 3 out of 5 Hairpieces!