A Film That Begs to be Dissected.
“After the Show” is our spoiler-friendly way of talking about movies at ZekeFilm. In this article, plot twists and hidden details of MOTHER! are potentially discussed. The film will be available on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD on December 19, 2017.
DIRECTED BY DARREN ARONOFSKY/2017
Aronofsky’s Mother! is a film that begs to be dissected. Sometimes that’s not what you want from a movie and that’s okay. But if you’re not in the right head space for it, do yourself, and the rest of us, a favor and don’t see it today.
Stating the fact that the movie is filled with religious imagery is not an analysis; and If it was meant to be a perfect allegory of the Christ story it severely missed the mark. Jennifer Lawrence, as the picture of sacrificial love, is a heartbreaking and frustrating character. For as much as we see of her, (she takes up about half the film) she’s frustrating because she’s a blank canvas.
Other than the fact that she loves her husband and wants children and can do pretty much anything that she sets her mind to she’s non-existent. When unwanted guests come into her home she can barely muster the spirit ask them to treat it with respect. It’s obvious that her husband is far more concerned with his image than her happiness but that doesn’t curb her devotion. And this is where it starts to look like a Christian allegory. She gives him everything she has and he doesn’t appreciate it because, how can he? He’s just a man, after all.
If you want to look at it this way, you can. I won’t say you’re wrong. The film leaves a lot open to interpretation. But I will say I think it’s lazy to look at this way. If you take it as an allegory all the pieces fit together and you don’t have to think about them individually anymore. It’s easier and maybe even satisfying but it won’t give you anything new or insightful. And isn’t that why we go to the movies anyway? To see something new and exciting.
I think there are powerful things under the surface of this film, but you have to dig a little bit to find them. A friend said to me, this movie gives you back what you bring to it. He’s right, the film is so filled with emotion and rage and wildness it brings to the surface the ideas that you associate with those things. And if all you have to project onto them is a basic understanding of the Christ story, you haven’t really lived.
The disrespect shown to a character that is a blank canvas can convey all kinds of meaning depending on what kind of life you’ve lived. To me she’s mother earth and the disrespect shown to her is the entitlement that humans feel to her resources simply because they’re there and we can take them.
On the other hand, the fact that she is referred to as the writer’s inspiration feels symbolic of the idea that writers use and cheapen the things that matter to them when they put them down on paper and give them to the world to read. This gives the story an element of the Hotel California, the Fame Monster, the idea that fame is a powerful, addictive drug that makes everything a nightmarish haze. This is a particularly relevant take-away since, these days, small scale fame is available to the masses for the price of their personal information. In our current culture, the desire to appear happy and fulfilled sometimes trumps the desire to actually be happy and fulfilled.
The way that Javier Bardem’s character constantly ignores his wife’s needs and feelings in favor of public adoration may ring sickeningly true for you in a way that you can’t quite put your finger on right away. You may find that Lawrence’s character for you represents mother earth, innocence, the inner self or even Christ. But, however you see her, she will mean something to you. Just don’t spoil the movie for yourself by thinking too hard about what she’s “supposed” to be.