"Ultraviolent, Bizarre, Confusing, Pretentious Environmentalist Allegory"
What You Need To Know:
As Mother, Jennifer Lawrence spends the first half of MOTHER! looking sad and confused, and its second half screaming and engaged in extreme violent behavior, first as victim, then as perpetrator. Javier Bardem has a creepy magnetic charm as Him. However, the movie is confusing and too bizarre. It promotes a very strong, politically correct, abhorrent neo-pagan worldview with strong feminist tones that are anti-male. Ultimately, the movie worships the Creation instead of the Creator God. Also, the extreme violence in MOTHER! becomes extremely disturbing.
(PaPaPa, FRFRFR, OOO, AbAbAb, PCPCPC, EEE, FeFeFe, L, VVV, SS, NN, AA, DD, MMM) Strong, apparently New Age, neo-pagan, false worldview with strong occult elements in the final half hour that seem to mock Christianity (after a huge crowd enters the house, a creepy-looking occult minister is shown performing a ritual that seems to mock the idea of Christian Communion, as people line up to be touched by him, after which he says a poet’s words are now part of them), plus very strong politically correct elements, including a very strong environmentalist viewpoint and an extremely anti-male viewpoint throughout; eight obscenities include four “f” words, a couple lewd insults toward women and no profanities; very strong violence includes many disturbing shots of blood emerging from a hole in a floor, exploding out of a lightbulb and spreading down walls in a basement, man crumples broken glass into his fists to intentionally draw blood, a woman is shown surrounded by flames with a severely burned face and later her entire body is burned severely, [SPOILERS FOLLOW] a mob grabs newborn baby and passes it around while worshipping it before accidentally breaking its neck and killing it and then devouring it in small pieces, baby’s mother breaks large shards of glass and slashes many in the mob viciously before they turn on her to beat and stomp her until her face is a bloody mess, woman’s shirt is ripped open to expose her breasts as a man is about to rape her until her husband saves her, woman flees to a basement and sets a house aflame, husband carries woman’s burnt body when she tells him she has “nothing left to give him,” and then he pulls open her chest and removes her heart, two adult brothers engage in a violent brawl, destroying furniture and slamming into walls in a house that is another couple’s property, one brother winds up smashing the other in the head, and he dies with his skull pouring out a pool of blood, a mob of people overrun a house and destroy windows, walls and furniture, and soldiers arrive and engage in a vicious gun battle with unseen forces, with one soldier’s head exploding when shot; married couple abruptly arrive at the house kiss and grope each other passionately in a couple of quick glimpses, in above scene the wife is seen standing in her bra and is clearly upset when they get interrupted from their relations, woman asks rudely personal questions about the title character’s marriage and sex life, protagonist yells at her husband for not being able to get her pregnant, and he pushes her against a wall, and they start to have rough foreplay; upper female nudity in one scene, rear male nudity when title character’s husband jumps naked out of bed, and upper male nudity in at least one scene; alcohol use, man gets drunk and is shown from behind while he vomits into a toilet, and a mob of people start drinking heavily; a man smokes repeatedly but is shown coughing strongly, and title character puts a strange yellow powder into water to form a drug to calm herself down from panic attacks, woman flushes yellow powder down the toilet after she becomes pregnant; and, people impose themselves on others and eventually become a thoughtless and violent mob and movie uses imagery to parallel the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, apparently intended as an allegory of earth’s creation and mankind’s destruction of it.
MOTHER! is an ultraviolent, bizarre, confusing, horrific allegorical movie about Creation, the Earth and mankind’s alleged abuse of the environment. It’s told through the story of a young woman known only as Mother, her strangely tense relationship with her husband known only as Him, and a bizarre and violently chaotic chain of events that begins when a mysterious couple known only as Man and Woman arrive at their remote rural house without warning.
The movie opens with a young woman (who’s never named onscreen but is classified as the title character “Mother” in the credits) surrounded by flames. Her face stares into the camera as she’s burning, before cutting abruptly to her waking up in a large house surrounded by seemingly endless fields.
Mother is involved in a total renovation of the large wooden house that her husband (known only as Him) nearly lost in a fire. Him is a poet who’s been suffering from paralyzing writer’s block, but things quickly are shaken up when a man (known only as Man) mysteriously arrives at their door.
Man claims to be a doctor who’s new to the area and is seeking lodging because he was told by his hospital colleagues that Mother’s house is a bed-and-breakfast. The next morning, Man seems perfectly calm and happy, before his wife (known only as Woman) suddenly shows up on the porch too.
This couple quickly impose themselves into the home, groping and kissing each other with abandon before Man asks Him to go on a hike and Woman stays behind to prod Mother about why she doesn’t have children. Mother is increasingly concerned about the intrusion. The new couple breaks a glass heart Him regards as precious, causing him to attempt to drive them out in a rage.
Mother confronts Him about why he’s unable to get her pregnant, driving him to have a passionate encounter that leads her to say she’s pregnant the next morning. Him instantly declares that his writer’s block has ended and rapidly writes an epic poem.
While this should be idyllic, the other couple still haven’t left, and their two sons arrive, with one enraged that the other brother allegedly is treated better in their parents’ newly revised will. A brawl breaks out between them, with one brother unintentionally killing the other. When Him allows the couple to invite family and friends over for a wake, events start to really spin out of control in strange directions.
As an ever-growing mob of strangers arrives first for the wake and later to pursue autographs from Him because they love his instantly-created poem, violent chaos breaks out, resulting in riots. The final third of the movie is filled with an utterly disturbing escalation of violence as well as an occult ritual before a final twist ending, which adds to the confusion generated by watching MOTHER!.
MOTHER! initially has some darkly funny charm as Mother contends with the visiting Man and Woman and her husband’s oddly fast embrace of the couple and their strange behavior. The movie veers wildly between pretentiously serious moments and the eventual chaos, with the confusing storyline intended by writer-director Darren Aronofsky to be an allegory about Creation and how mankind allegedly abuses it by running roughshod across it. Sometimes the movie seems like an Adam and Eve allegory. Of course, the fight between the two brothers smacks of the Cain and Abel story.
As Mother, Jennifer Lawrence spends the first half of the movie largely looking sad and confused, and its second half screaming and engaged in frantically violent behavior as both perpetrator and victim. Javier Bardem has a creepy magnetic charm as Him. He also is shown having a very easygoing and condescending attitude toward Mother, while Mother is perpetually troubled and working too hard. This is one of several examples in the movie how women are depicted as all-suffering while men exert casual, autocratic control over the world.
Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer offer some fun intrigue in their roles as Man and Woman. However, they disappear well before the final third act, which devolves into utter chaos with a mob of actors, who are undistinguished other than by having a nasty and sarcastic disposition and recklessly trashing Mother’s house while severely abusing her.
Though the movie itself is extremely confusing and rather pretentious, its intentions as a strong politically correct environmentalist message movie are clarified by two handouts that the movie distributor distributed to critics at the advance screening MOVIEGUIDE® attended.
One handout is a written statement by Writer/Director Daniel Aronofsky where he bemoans what he perceives as overpopulation and the United States’ response to climate change and admits that he allowed himself to write as darkly as his thoughts entered his mind. The other is a version of the Lord’s Prayer, rewritten by a woman named Rebecca Solnit to become “Mother’s Prayer” that is directed to “Mother Earth” and shifts the focus of worship and glory from God to the planet. This handout fully clarifies the movie’s intention as false, godless, New Age, neo-pagan, environmentalist propaganda. This, in effect, is worshipping the Creation of God rather than worshipping the Creator.
The abhorrent worldview of MOTHER!, along with all of its extreme violence, turns this production into a movie that media-wise mothers, and all other discerning moviegoers, including intelligent Christians, will want to skip.
Editor’s Note: When God commands Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis to wield “dominion” over His Creation, that does not include overtly abusing the Earth and its animal, bird and water creatures. Instead, God means for humans to care for the Earth and its various parts, to turn it into a garden and a place for stewardship of animals like cows, chickens, dogs, cats, etc.