The weekend after it came out I went to see “Mother!” in the theater.
I was well aware the film had received an “F” from cinemascore and to be perfectly honest that actually made me much more interested in seeing the film. I really didn’t see how the film count actually be that bad. I really figured it was a matter of a bunch of people thinking they were going to see some Jennifer Lawrence movie and not realizing that what they actually signed up for was a Darren Aronofsky movie.
I was right, the movie isn’t that bad. In fact it’s not a bad movie. It is not “Requiem for a Dream” or “Black Swan” but it is a strongly directed film with good acting.
Now that I’ve had plenty of time to think about it I think what “Mother!” really is about is the insane relationship creative people (writers, actors, painters) have with the people that enjoy their work. The relationship between artists and the people that enjoy their art can become more important than the art itself or the people in the artist’s life. No matter how intense and strange the film gets, and it does get really intense and strange in its last forty five minutes, that’s what it boils down to.
Certain artists can’t live without the adoration of their fans and they are willing to let their life implode over and over in order to get that fix.
I’ve often felt that Jennifer Lawrence is a great movie star who shines in movie star roles but isn’t as successful in smaller films. Despite her first Oscar nomination I don’t think “Winter’s Bone” is her best work. Her performance is solid but I don’t know that she is the right actress for the role but I do appreciate that she is pushing herself as she begins to push 30.
Javier Bardem is excellent as Lawrence’s husband. He is one hundred percent believable as a writer who struggles both with writer’s block and with what happens once his writer’s block ends.
Ed Harris is good in his supporting role but I do think that the best performance of the film comes from Michelle Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer carries a darkness in her performance that I don’t think she would have been capable of when she was Jennifer Lawrence’s age.
It’s fascinating to watch the scenes these two actresses share. Separated by a generation they are wonderful together. Although Pfeiffer’s Oscar buzz has faded since the film came out I understand why her performance had people talking seven weeks ago.
This is a love it or hate it film. If you see it you are taking a risk but then again I do think Darren Aronofsky looks to make art and not just popcorn movies and with art comes a risk. So can I recommend it? Not truly, not unless you are willing to take a gamble that you may hate the movie. But isn’t life a gamble?
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Here is a description:
Justin Gomez and his sister, Terri, have never been close. Separated by nine years and distant in adulthood, Justin and Terri have little in common, except for the love of her three children. In the days before they embark on a road trip to visit the father that once abandoned them and their now deceased mother, both Terri and Justin are dealing with unexpected changes in their lives. Justin surprisingly realizes he might want more than a series of one night stands after a first date goes unexpectedly well. After a lifetime of being a strong type A personality, Terri is forced to confront the reality of the end of her marriage. As they hit the road, with Terri’s children in tow, they find themselves forced to rely on and confide in each other following a devastating event. Confronted with memories from the past and challenges from the present, Terri and Justin must dig deep and unearth the truth about themselves and their parents in order to build a new family based on their love for each other.