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A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. From filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream), mother! stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer in this riveting psychological thriller about love, devotion and sacrifice.
Broadly categorized as a psychological drama, Mother! has a level of twisted imagery and events that lend it more towards the horror category. As arty as a film can be with such names as Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer, the film works to remove any unnecessary extravagances, placing the focus purely on the quality of the actors and the depth of the portrayal of the characters. An example of the minimalistic take is how none of the characters are given names; referred to as Mother, the Poet, Man, and Wife, the names are not needed and therefore not known.
The film takes place in one setting; either inside the house or directly outside the house, and follows the point of view of Jennifer Lawrence's character, the Mother, with all shots with focused on Lawrence's face, looking from her point of view, or over her shoulder. The viewer receives no information that the protagonist doesn't have, and it creates a very immersive experience. Seeing all that she sees, it does not take long to start seeing the set of events leading to a chain reaction.
The entire plot revolves around the Bardem and Lawrence's characters and their contradictory viewpoints. Lawrence's Mother, who has fully renovated their home herself, connecting with it on a spiritual level, making the house effectively a part of herself, and whose only want is to spend her time with her husband isolated from the rest of the world. Bardem's Poet, on the other hand, is the ever-obliging host, who craves to please those that worship his work. These contradictory viewpoints begin to clash and escalate as more characters begin to enter the story until the situation devolves into the climax of the film.
Mother! is a polarizing film. You will either love it or hate it. It leaps beyond the boundaries of what is expected from a film and takes the viewer on a journey that will no doubt frustrate and baffle them. Lines between reality and fiction blur as time moves and bounds inconsistently. The film has no filler; every action leads on towards something further into the film, but that is not to say it is easy to follow, not in the slightest. Climaxing with an irreconcilable hallucinogenic fever dream sequence that folds in on itself, we are treated to a vicious cycle that highlights a selfish, narcissistic society which takes what it wants.
An intriguing story, that leaves you with many unanswered questions. The framing and perspectives of the shots are truly brilliant, and the plot is certainly a simple and original idea but is it enough to make it a great film? That is up to each viewer to decide on their own. I was engaged, and I empathised with Lawrence's Mother character, but it is not a film I will feel the need to see again.
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