Right, ok. In the short time I’ve spent writing reviews with Second Union, I can honestly say that writing this review has been the most difficult experience I’ve had the pleasure of having. Ever since my expletive-ridden rant upon leaving the theater last Friday night I have suffered through a wave of despair, admiration, anxiety and even excessive optimism at one point. Each and every one of these emotions, however, can be traced back to one singular event, my decision to watch “Mother!”
For those of you unaware of what is probably the most polarising film you’ll EVER watch, “Mother!” is the Darren Aronofsky’s latest examination of the world in the only way he knows best. Jennifer Lawrence’s character (listed as merely Mother) has spent what seems like her entire life rebuilding the home of Javier Bardem’s “Him”. Not a lot is known about what happened to it prior, only that he lost his family to a great fire that engulfed it. All seems well until Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer’s “Man” and “Woman” unexpectedly interrupt the seemingly perfect harmony between the two. From here the madness only seems to go from wild to wonderful. With raucous parties, an unexpected pregnancy, and a final 20 minutes that will change everything you’ve ever know about more or everything you’ve ever, “Mother!” lays it’s message so hard on the screen that you feel as though you must have missed at least one element to it.
Instead of bombarding this review with plot points, I think the main reason as to why you as the reader should watch “Mother!” is the technical brilliance of every scene within it. Much like Hitchcock’s Rear Window, every scene is fabricated to portray an image so haunting that you refuse to take your eyes away from whatever screen you are looking at. The way in which Lawrence and Bardem’s are filmed is in such a way that the sense of claustrophobia cannot be escaped. The blatant invasion of their personal space creates exceptional uncertainty with no intention of giving any prominence to the events in the background.
Furthermore, the completely mind-blowing editing on display by Andrew Weisblum, particularly in those final exchanges, is the cherry on the icing of the most unsettling cake you’ll have tried in years. Without the sharp, precise nature of Weisblum’s work, the sense of chaos that eventually ensues would be lost amidst a cacophony of unfathomably insane events.
The biggest dilemma I’ve had to face since watching “Mother!” is whether or not I would actually recommend that anyone in their right and free-thinking mind should ever watch a film that caused me to lose an additional 2 hours of sleep. In the end, my conclusion is yes. You should absolutely go to see “Mother!” for one particular reason. Alain Resnais said, “Cinema is the manipulation of reality through image and sound”. Not in my lifetime has there been a film that perfectly resembles this relatively obvious conclusion. Not in my lifetime has there been a film that caused people in the theater around me to take the time to ponder and discuss what on Earth, we as an audience had just witnessed.
“Mother!” is not a film for everyone’s taste. Its symbology can be quite heavy, and its superficial imagery will leave you physically shaken from the very minute you see it. However as a Drama, as a Horror and a Movie, “Mother!” will say something to you that I’m sure you won’t forget for a very long time.