O’ mother! Nihilism Reigns In Darren Aronofsky’s Outré Epic.

I found Darren Aronofsky’s somewhat controversial Mother (stylised as mother! when presented within the text of the film; and for good reason) to be a fascinating, affecting piece of work.

A bold reworking of a popular myth* of human foundation, Aronofsky’s movie builds towards one of the most intense and downright bold finales I’ve ever seen in a Hollywood studio picture. It’s a film that acts on the promise of Aronofsky’s somewhat-forgotten, within the context of his own oeuvre at least, π, a debut which bears little in the way of similarity to films like The Wrestler or Noah, with experimentia at the forefront, and weird, ambitious ideas presented in very cinematic and unusual ways. Again, it’s surreal that such a movie could be produced within the studio system, and with a best female actor Oscar winner as one of its key technicians. Jennifer Lawrence is beamed in close-up for much of the film’s duration, with the resulting performance the highlight of her career to date. Once again thoughts turn to debuts here, with Lawrence’s turn here reminding of her breakthrough appearance in Winter’s Bone. The supporting players, headed by an on-form Javier Bardem, soon blur in to one (by design), to form an orchestra of chaos that partitions the film’s protagonist off from the rest of the world.

Much has been written already of Mother in the past few days. Social media is rife with passionate, angry voices, while hot-takes of increasingly ludicrous volume can be found across the internet. Walkouts are commonplace at many screenings of the film. While some claim to have a legitimate gripe in taking issue with the film being marketed as a horror film while claiming it isn’t (it most certainly is for the record), I’m struggling to comprehend just how anyone could walk out of it thinking it was anything less than a fascinating piece of work, for better or worse. Regardless of ones take on the film or the people behind it, it’s a real oddity and one which deserves our attention.

*I’m trying to avoid ruining the film for those yet to see it.