Throwback Thursday: ‘Mother!’ (2017) is bizarre and disturbing, but not in a good way (Movie review)

I

 had put off watching writer-director Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!” (2017) for a long time. Most of the feedback I had heard was that it’s random and pretty pointless. For some reason, curiosity got the best of me and when I saw it on Amazon Prime streaming, I gave it a shot.

For the first two-thirds of the movie, I actually really enjoyed it. Everything is really random, almost like a dream. Yet somehow, I was completely interested in what happens. Jennifer Lawrence gives a strong performance, and we are basically in her shoes as the seemingly odd and somewhat frightening events play out as a stream of visitors enter the house she shares with her husband (Javier Bardem). Why is this happening? What will be the final twist/explanation that ties this together?

“Mother!” goes off the rails for one of the most disappointing (and disturbing) final acts I can remember. Instead of tying up the randomness nicely, the film doubles down and becomes just plain bad.

Then, “Mother!” goes off the rails for one of the most disappointing (and disturbing) final acts I can remember. Instead of tying up the randomness nicely, the film doubles down and becomes just plain bad. It is nearly impossible to understand what is happening, and we just watch and try to follow along. Finally, as the film comes to a close, I was completely bewildered as to what I had just watched.

(Spoilers follow.)

So, what is “Mother!” about? Well, without googling the answer to that question I couldn’t have told you, and I’m guessing even if you watched the movie, you couldn’t either. After googling it, I have a broad understanding that the film is meant to be a representation of The Poet, Mother Earth and Man, with J-Law representing Mother Earth, Bardem representing The Poet and all of the visitors representing the human race. Once you know this, you can start to make sense of the events, but it’s a stretch.

Finally, I couldn’t finish this review without mentioning a scene that is particularly disturbing. The tipping point of the film – and the point where it loses me — is a scene in which Mother Earth has a baby. The huge crowd of visitors in the house wants to see and pay homage to the baby as they are basically worshiping The Poet as God. When the mother falls asleep, The Poet takes the baby and allows the crowd to see and touch it. It is at that point that the baby disappears into the crowd and we hear a cracking sound and the baby falls silent. As the mother rushes forward to find her baby, she finds that the crowd has torn it apart and is eating the child. I’m sure this affected me more as a new parent, but it is just completely shocking.

(End of spoilers.)

I recommend you avoid “Mother!” at all costs. It’s not good. Although I enjoyed a good chunk of it (I probably was looking at a 3.5/5 rating), the end is so bad that it knocks it all the way down to a 2. It’s just not worth the time.