Darren Aronofsky has followed up his biblical epic, Noah, with another biblical horror story starring Jennifer Lawrence (his partner in real life) and Javier Bardem.
Whilst advance publicity had suggested this might be heavily inspired by Rosemary’s Baby this is not in fact the case. Far from it. Rosemary’s Baby is about the birth of Satan. This is not.
I found it helpful to know in advance what the premise of this film was and there is a brilliant deconstruction of the plot in this article in the Telegraph. You may not want to know before you see it, but it’s a great read after the fact and confirmed most of my assumptions about the heavy allegory and metaphor used in the movie.
To make two consecutive biblical films is surprising because Aronofsky has declared his atheism but presumably the source material is such brilliant storytelling that he simply could’t resist.
What results in mother! is a film of such epic proportions, such horror, such artistry that at times your jaw actually drops. Aronofsky stops at nothing. There are no sacred beliefs that he cannot explore or visualise. What he does not do is ridicule them. This is a representative telling of Genesis, the New Testament, earth science theory and sustainability all wrapped in one great gothic whole.
And it’s gorgeous, sumptuous and creepy.
The performances by Bardem and Lawrence are electrifying, albeit their togetherness as man and wife seems unlikely, but as the plot unravels it’s obvious why.
The appearance of a married couple in the shape of Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer (both extraordinary performances) into their lives is startling in its aloofness and cruelty. One feels Lawrence’s panic bubbling over as the idyll she is trying to create in an island home is about to gradually unwind.
And unwind it does; in increasingly spectacular fashion.
I’m not going to go into spoiler territory (read the Telegraph article for that (after you’ve seen the movie) so I’ll stop here.
Suffice it to say that although this won’t appeal to many; for those that it does this is a truly great movie.