Darren Aronofsky’s film “mother!” was released Sept. 15 and stars Jennifer Lawrence as a quiet young housewife — in the truest sense — to Javier Bardem’s character, the precarious poet.
In ‘mother!’, a married couple lives peacefully alone until visitors come to praise the author for his work. Tragedy strikes, causing the wife much personal grief. People pour into the home she is still finishing, but she only wants to be alone again with the man she married. Though she protests, the odds are certainly against her.
This film starts eerily calm, unsettling the audience, but offering a good understanding of the wife, a character whose identity is crucial in grasping the content of the film. Her emotional ties to the home and her husband become clear and relatable. However, the viewer is kept at a distance from the husband, who hides away in his office, trying to write out of a passion that has faded.
Once these two characters are set, Aronofsky artfully retells the biblical narrative in such a way that the meaning of the Scriptures is distorted. It is a difficult film to watch ; it demands to be thoughtfully considered through all of its gore and emotional hostility.
‘mother!’ challenges Christians to know what they believe and why. This aspect of the film sneaks up on the unsuspecting viewer as characters continues enter.
Most if not all elements of the film are used effectively for the director’s purpose.
The heavy and striking use of gory violence toward the end of the film is meant to tell a distorted gospel, and it does. It also desperately begs the question of God’s faithfulness to his people and the planet he created.
The film portrays God as a selfish man who earns his pleasure exclusively from his uncontrollably zealous fans, deviating from the Scriptures.
The emotional tension of the wife strives to stir empathy from the audience. Aronofsky wants the viewer to feel what the wife feels, so the majority of screen time is close-ups of Lawrence. We see and interact with her environment as she does.
Unfortunately for viewers, her every core necessity is denied. This becomes obvious as devotees of her husband come into her home, draw her husband’s attention from her and ruin the interior she is painstakingly refurbishing.
While the film received harsh reviews from audiences and critics, the movie should be recognized for changing the pace of commercial film.
The industry has recently gone unchecked, pushing all too palatable films that appeal to all ages, leaving art-house films to the wayside. “mother!” defies the way one views the film industry.
The content of this movie is challenging for Christians more than any other group.
That said, ‘mother!’ is artfully approached and deserves a positive, thoughtful response for its creative use of the biblical narrative and poignant message to those who follow