“Mother!” is a grotesque film. It is violent and gruesome to watch. Perhaps it is also the reason why it received an F cinemascope from
the audience. It is a sensitive and controversial matter that is causing debate in the entertainment industry. Is the film actually a work of genius or simply a pretentious mess?
The characters in this film are only referred to as ‘Mother’ and as ‘Him’.
The film is deeply symbolic and is starting debate and conversation about what the bleeding floors, the yellow elixir or what the crystal could mean. There are many interpretations viewers are able to uncover. For instance, many may view the film as a work of fiction meant to depict the inequality between the two genders, illustrated by the two character’s abusive relationship. Jennifer Lawrence’s character works on restoring Javier Bardem’s character’s burnt down-house. Her character is dedicated to making the house a paradise. His character is a once-famous poet, who is having serious writer’s block and is having problems coming up with new inspiration. When people start showing up at their house, they all seem to admire his work over hers. In fact, He is constantly being praised for his one hit, whereas she isn’t getting any admiration or acknowledgment for her work. Their fragile relationship is further being tested when He starts making the decisions around the house, not asking for her insight, which is the beginning of the atrocities of their destructive relationship.
However, after reading interviews and articles, it is clear what Aronofsky intended to illustrate. The film is an allegory about humanity’s relationship with Earth and God. Jennifer Lawrence’s character is representing Mother Nature, and Javier Bardem’s character is representing God. While Ed Harris representing Adam and Michelle Pfeiffer representing Eve. The strangers invading the house represent all mankind. The film’s beginning presents this house, surrounded by corn stalks, seemingly isolated from society. Two lovers live in this seemingly perfect house, in a warm and nurturing environment. The woman is working on building their house and the man is a once-famous writer, struggling with writer’s block.
Later on, this stranger appears at their doorsteps, he is invited to stay. However, he abuses his welcome and slowly invites his wife and other members to the couple’s household. One interesting detail about the first night he spends in the house is perhaps when Jennifer Lawrence’s character wakes up and finds the man throwing up in the bathroom, her husband by his side. Another interesting detail appears as she sees the man’s ribcage bleeding out; a referencing/a reference to how Eve was created from one of Adam’s rib. Further on, the man’s wife and sons show up and/to? Cause quite some damage to the house. Despite all of this, Javier Bardem’s character is forgiving and still welcomes every stranger that shows up, which is rewarded in the second part of the film by a strike of inspiration, as he finally writes something new. His new piece of work can be interpreted as the New Testament. Struck with fame, the writer receives even more attention and more strangers at his doorstep, praying Him, like one would praise God.
During this time of temporary joy, Jennifer Lawrence’s character is pregnant, which could be interpreted as Jesus. However, as more strangers come, they invade their house and destroy everything the couple had built, going as far as killing the newborn baby. The strangers represent mankind’s tendency of destroying everything in its path, including the Earth. The newborn’s death is similar to Jesus’ death for humanity’s sins. In the end, Javier Bardem’s character remains forgiving and all loving, like how one would describe God himself to be.
“Mother!” is a jaw-dropping release that has started many conversations about its meaning. Much of the hidden symbolism has different interpretations. But one thing is certain; this film is visually striking and stretches the limitations of cinematography or story. It’s a perfect example of the film industry’s has. Once a visionary director decides to move away from mainstream movies, incredible things happen. However, only one question remains; will it be able to stand the test of time?
Written By: K. Wells