T: I had been wanting to watch this movie ever since the eery and cryptic trailers had come out during late summer. Its limited clues and haunting imagery had me instantly hooked. Plus, being an Aronofsky fan and Jennifer Lawrence enthusiast, I was excited to see this (former) real-life couple team up in Aranofsky’s latest psychological drama.
Have a look here: Mother! Teaser Trailer #1
After weeks of controversial news articles, both Red Vines and myself limited any potential spoilings that may have marred our initial viewing (though – admittedly – I had heard its allegory did fall within a ‘pro-environmentalism’ sphere) and finally got around to having a free evening where we could watch it at what has become our most favorite theatre: Alamo Drafthouse.
The movie begins with an immediate feeling of dread. The cinematography of the film – including the coolness of the colors of the lens, the haunting silence throughout many of its sequences, and the first-person POV style of directing – manifests a perpetual pang of uneasiness upon the first frame. Also, the nameless mother’s point-of-view, to which the audience is limited, is in of itself somewhat jarring as you’re not entirely sure if she is totally reliable or not. You’re not sure who to trust or what is happening or why. With that said, the peculiarity of the scenarios help the audience to discover the allegory, and once it is finally found, the film takes on a whole new level of meaning and quality.
I think those that condemn this film just truly do not understand it or perhaps cannot possibly appreciate the power of allegory. This film feels fresh and unique despite telling or retelling some of the most universally known stories. I’m not going not to lie – this film is disturbing. Very disturbing. But in all the necessary ways for it to be effective. I found myself closing my eyes out of fear. I found myself crying in response to what was on screen. My stomach certainly jolted throughout and my body was permeated by an altogether feeling of anxiety. But these things are part of the purpose of this film that I felt was more of an artful experience than a traditional movie viewing.
It is certainly not for the easily offended or scared, but certainly for those who are willing to explore the themes most inherent to man: power, control, manipulation, exploitation, and the potential to forgive and harness our innate abilities to do good.
If only we can see the clues. If only we can pay attention.
RV: The movie had great acting and great cinematography, but where Mother truly shines is in its complexity. After I watched the movie, I finally googled the movie to see other people’s reaction to such a unique film experience and was stunned to see how many critics believed that the movie’s allegory was held too close to the chest as if Hollywood doesn’t already treat the general audience like Neanderthals (See: summer of sequels).
Mother is a brilliant film. I never felt bored for a second of the film. I was constantly on edge as I tried to decipher the clues that the director had given me, and I didn’t completely understand the film until the last few minutes. However, the moment I saw the film clearly, I felt rewarded, and when I left the theater, the movie’s message stayed deep within me. Even weeks later, I still think about the movie.
Mother exposes the problem with the Tomatometer. Our current group-think system does not reward a film that takes cinematic risks. Becuase critics didn’t like the uneasiness of interpretation, the film could be ignored by people who only see a low Tomatometer. We have been trained that a movie is only good if a majority of people enjoy it, so we are now accustomed to seeing above-average movies put above Avant-garde that it’s no wonder Hollywood has summers like this one where there is a dearth of fresh ideas.
5 Twizzlers: This is one mother of a movie.
5 Red Vines: Go see your Mother! She misses you.