Darren Arnofsky’s metaphysical and metaphor-rich horror drama Mother! either extracts feelings of reverence or repugnance from its viewers.
It doesn’t allow for good deal of middle ground in terms of opinion.
While I liked the intensity of this hermetically-sealed chamber piece, I could understand fellow movie-lovers’ intense dislike for it.
Mother! starts off as a straight-up psychological horror, in the vein of Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby.
A young woman (Jennifer Lawrence) lives with her middle-aged husband (Javier Bardem), a poet, in an isolated mansion.
She focuses her days on restoring her husband’s house, previously burned in a fire. He was once a famous poet, but now sits brooding with pen in hand and words elude him.
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One night, a stranger (Ed Harris) arrives, looking for lodging and food.
Soon, more strangers arrive, as unfathomable menace looms over the young wife’s restored home.
The entire narrative mostly stays close to Jennifer Lawrence’s face.
The swish pans, close-ups, and behind-the-shoulder shots deftly capture the maddening frenzy around the restricted point of view.
Arnofsky’s visual energy is well-matched with far ambitious thematic notions.
From biblical references to metaphorizing gender roles, artistic creation to delirious fandom, the filmmaker takes on vast number of themes.
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Some thrive with idiosyncratic energy, while some appear to be banal.
In the end, Mother! is a pretty vicious (self) critique on the artist-muse connection or relationship.
Despite the outlandishness and sheer irrationality of it, I liked the film on how it provides the space to project our own experiences onto it.
Mother! is a perfectly disquieting roller-coaster of a horror ride.
By Arun Kumar
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An ardent cinephile, who truly believes in the transformative power and shared-dream experience of cinema. He blogs at ‘Passion for Movies.’