Darren Aronofsky’s new film is ultimately a story about two characters who yearn to bring life into an empty space in different ways. Oscar winner Javier Bardem is a supposed writer and poet looking to get unblocked and his wife, played by Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, toils restoring their old home to its former glory. Their endeavors, or should I say, his endeavors welcome unexpected company as people from parts unknown begin to take up space and the two central characters are ultimately witnesses and central players to the madness that unfolds in the space within their home.
Bearing witness to Aronofsky’s latest venture simply dubbed mother!, I was bewitched by the grandeur and the expertise it took to craft this picture and put it on screen. Going in, I had no idea what I was getting into, watching it, I had no idea where it was going, after it ended, it didn’t dawn on me that the film drew heavy inspiration/was a very radical take on a very familiar book (I won’t spoil it for you) but for all of its mystery, suspense and extensive shock and awe, I can say that mother! is undoubtedly a work of extreme genius and I take my hat of to Darren Aronofsky for writing and directing one of this year’s most elaborate, menacing and heart-stopping pictures.
As someone who has seen almost everything that Jennifer Lawrence has done, I must say that her performance in this film is probably the best she’s done to date. She is completely immersed in this role as the voice of reason, the victim of her husband’s “generosity” and ultimately his power; in the falling action of the film as her house is besieged by her husband’s followers and she navigates through the hell her home has become, going mad in the process and in her condition, she is a powerhouse in this picture.
Lawrence’s co-star Javier Bardem? In my eyes, ever since he debuted as Anton Chighur in the Oscar winning No Country for Old Men, he has always been a powerful performer and he delivers another resplendent performance as this enigmatic and very popular figure. I was on pins and needles watching him because I had no way of knowing what these characters, especially his character, was going to do, where this movie was going to turn; in mother!, Lawrence and Bardem are both Oscar caliber.
The supporting performances of Ed Harris, Michelle Pfieffer, Brian Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson, Jovan Adepo, Patricia Summersett, Amanda Chiu and so many were fleeting but resonating; the figures once you start to make the connections as to who they are to the two central characters in the grand scheme of the picture, you begin to understand how prominent they are to the development of the film’s and where it was ultimately going.
Matthew Libatique’s cinematography is tense, unnerving but captures Lawrence’s character as she descends into madness so rivetingly and it compliments the spectacular editing of Andrew Weisblum so well.
I cannot recall if mother! actually used a score, which is credited to Jóhann Jóhannsson, but if it did it may have faded into the background of the action. I actually believe it was better without a score because the tension of the picture would have been stolen if it did use music of any kind; I was just so enthralled with what I witnessed, I must have missed the use of a score anywhere in the film.
Phillip Messina’s production design was outstanding, I thought the art decoration and set decoration added to the overall scope of the picture. Danny Glicker’s costumes and the make-up team did a great job as well.
mother! is a must-see movie! The performances by its two leading actors, the unpredictable and gripping writing, the execution it took to accomplish making it, it all culminates to a work of radical cinematic genius by Darren Aronofsky.