Symbolism Abound! - Mother! (REVIEW)
Written Jacob Chimilar
Darren Aronofsky hit a critical and commercial high with his work on Black Swan and The Wrestler. He took a bit of a dive with Noah and now Mother! offers up a return to the more out there stylings of his work. It is a film that sets itself up as a "what if". A "what if" i won't spoil but is very intriguing once you get it and is interesting to watch. It does drag a mid way through but picks up considerably by the end.
Both Jennifer Lawrence and Javeir Bardem are excellent in the film portraying a writer and his wife who is charged with rebuilding the home of the writer just the way he had it before to show her love for him. He in return must write in order to support them. It slowly morphs into something else and by the end I was smiling at what it was trying to accomplish.
Apparently there is heavy religious symbolism in the film that, not being religious nor do I know much about it I didn't pick up on those themes until doing some reading. That said you clearly do not need to know that to enjoy the film but it does take on a different context with the pieces that fit a bit better as a result.
This film takes a drastic turn towards the end and I found it to be utterly enthralling. It's shocking and explosive and all happens so fast much like the situation it is trying to express. The cinematography goes a long way to help with that along with the score which was seemingly sparce as the focus felt so heavily on the actors to convey emotions and not the score. The camera stays very much in Jennifer's face as she has to soak in everything that is happening to her. It's a different, very Aronofsky style and it is certainly appreciated. Also the set designers should be praised in helping cement the house as a character that was just as important to the story.
My only real complaint with the film is that it can drag on a bit too long. The mystery of it all was hard for me to put it all together as I was watching and my ideas shifted as it went along. It is one where if you are just watching it and not actively trying to work it out, you will most likely be bored to tears. It gets pretty well spelled out by the end but that isn't until about 2/3rds of the way through and in the mean time not a whole lot happens that is engaging on the surface and again, if you don't get the religious aspect (like me) that layer is lost too.
If you like your films to be heavily steeped in an idea that gets played out in full then you will probably enjoy this film. It takes a while to put the pieces together but once you do it is interesting to watch it all unfold. The performances are top notch, the cinematography is unsettling and quite literally in your face. It's quiet, loud, spooky, and disturbing without going so over the top as to be exploitative.
Interesting idea slowly yet creatively told