MovieBob Reviews MOTHER 2017

first_img Is Mother! good?Very. But A LOT of people are going to hate it.Why?That would be telling.What’s it about? (No spoilers, please)Okay. Jennifer Lawrence is the (much!) younger wife of an older poet – formerly of notoriety – played by Javier Bardem. He’s been struck by writer’s block and mostly stays in his top-floor office trying to create… something (anything!), while she absorbs herself in domestic duties and the one-woman restoration of their opulent but fire-damaged middle-of-nowhere luxury cottage. All is going (mostly) well, save that she’s having what feel like fainting spells and occasional visions of the house’s foundation “moving” and something like a huge beating heart floating inside the walls.Ah! So a haunted house movie, then?…not exactly.Go on…Without giving anything away that’s not in the trailers, everything gets upended by the weirdly-random appearance of a traveling older married couple (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer). They are discovered to be obsessed fans of Bardem’s poetry and whom he invites to stay as houseguests for seemingly no reason. His wife has an apparent implicit dislike of them (they’re pushy, nosey and they keep getting into spaces they aren’t supposed to go and show a callous disregard for their host’s belongings or surroundings in general.) Eventually, they’re joined by (the older couple’s) feuding adult sons and an increasing number of friends and fellow fans who just… won’t… leave. With Lawrence’s character stuck in an increasingly-surreal nightmare version of having to entertain company she can’t stand, but her husband seems unable to get enough of – especially when the constant presence of adoring fans seems to kick-start his creative juices…This is one of those movies that’s a metaphor for how tough it is on the psyche to be a Great Film Director, isn’t it?More like an allegory, but yeah – one of several, all fairly heavy-handed and arranged around a narrative sequence of events borrowed from a specific literary reference-point to serve as a structural-metaphor for the theme being explored.And that theme is?Broadly, the similarities of Great Artists (and their relationship to their fans) to a certain archetype of mythology/spirituality. Specifically, it seems to be Aronofsky grappling with: “God DAMN! I’m such a terrifyingly invulnerable force of life-devouring masterpiece-shitting raging white-hot creative energy that even I kind of worship, resent and fear me!” And also (perhaps mainly, regarding screen-time) that it probably sucks to be married to a Great Artist.…isn’t he dating Jennifer Lawrence right now?Yeah, there’s a lot to unpack there.I’ll be honest – this sounds incredibly pretentious.It is, but it’s the “good kind” of pretentious where pretense (and pretentious people) are an acknowledged aspect of the narrative. While the film itself consciously uses the appearance of pretense to keep us distant and off-guard as to how dark things are getting until it’s too late. Things would feel “out of control” a lot quicker if they happened to regular people in a cheap apartment instead of well-dressed, formally-polite people discussing literature in a dazzling rustic country house.Okay, how dark is “dark” in this scenario?Well, you asked for no spoilers, but: Pitch dark. Dark enough to have its own gravitational pull. Aronofsky isn’t known for subtlety, so what starts out as late-period Luis Bunuel-style “Have I gone crazy or has everyone else gone crazy?” absurdist farce eventually flash-segues to psychological-thriller to surrealist sensory-overload. Then finally to audience-brutalizing shock-horror that likely represents the most brutal, unnerving, hard-to-watch, pit-of-your-stomach disgusting, heart-stoppingly cruel Third Act of any movie this year – and if it’s not, I don’t want to find out what the winner had to do to top it.Whoa – wait, how bad are we talking here? Assuming mainstream movie audiences know what he looks like, Aronofsky might want to consider hiring a bodyguard – there are things audiences don’t forgive you for.But you said it was good?I did. But what’s good about it (apart from being very well-acted and ingeniously directed, which you kind of had to assume given the cast and crew) is largely its sheer audacity. Everyone involved here jumped into the void feet-first, and they’re daring the audience to follow them. This is raw-nerve, can’t-sit-still, shred-your-psyche horror filmmaking; and that’s not everyone’s jam. It’s mine (to a point), but even I’ll acknowledge that – in the moment – I felt like I might vomit up my own heart.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. MovieBob Reviews: ‘Shadow’MovieBob Reviews: ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ Stay on targetlast_img

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