Eppler: In defense of 'Mother!'

Eppler: In defense of 'Mother!'

"Mother!" has gained infamy as the most hated movie of the year by audiences. It has a CinemaScore grade of F. I've had co-workers tell me they walked out, and I even saw one audience member leave during my screening. While it may not be for all tastes, I find myself in an odd position of liking a movie that I can't broadly recommend.

On its face, "Mother!" is the story of a young woman (Jennifer Lawrence) married to an older artist (Javier Bardem). While he works on his poetry, she's beautifying his home they now share. But their seemingly perfect world is upset by strangers arriving -  first a man (Ed Harris) and then a woman (Michelle Pfieffer). 

None of the characters are given names because writer and director Daren Aronofsky wants us to think more about who or what they represent. Sound confusing? Here are some hints: there's a creator alone in the world he's made with mother nature, then man and woman come along and start wrecking it.

Yes, "Mother!" is a biblical allegory with a metaphor for the environment running through it, which should be no surprise because Aronofsky's last movie was an adaptation of Noah's Ark that also had a strong environmentalist tilt. 

"Mother!" is a treat from a filmmaking perspective. Viewers may notice how tightly Lawrence is framed compared to other characters and how lighting, sound and space are used to convey meaning. I know, that's all film geek stuff. And really, this whole movie is one big auteur showoff piece for Aronofsky. It's self indulgent to the extreme. He has high ambitious that he doesn't always reach, but it's fun to watch him try as the movie dives headlong into grotesque absurdity in the final stretch.

I'm actually shocked that a major studio got behind this craziness. And while I can't give it a broad recommendation, I love that this thing exists. 

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