Mother! (2017)

mother poster 2017 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Good concept

Packaging and delivery failed the movie

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Mother!

Studio:   Paramount Pictures

Genre(s):   Drama/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  September 5, 2017 (Venice Film Festival)/September 15, 2017 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

mother jennifer lawrence fire ending

A Phoenix from the ashes?

A struggling poet (Javier Bardem) and his wife (Jennifer Lawrence) inhabit a remote countryside home.  When a man (Ed Harris) and his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) arrive and begin to destroy everything that the woman worked for, the woman’s life begins to spiral out of control.  Now, there are visitors all the time and she seems to have no control over who stays or goes…and despite her pleas, no one listens.  Can she save the world she’s created before it is too late?

Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, Mother! (stylized as mother!) is an allegorical suspense thriller.  Premiering at the Venice Film Festival, the movie was released to controversy over some of the themes and mixed reviews.  It underperformed at the box-office.  It received Razzie nominations for Worst Actress (Lawrence), Worst Supporting Actor (Bardem who was also nominated for Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Men Tell No Tales), and Worst Director.

Mother! suffers from a lot of its own making.  First the film is hard to describe, but the real problem came in the marketing.  From the picture, you expected a horror thriller, and while I found Mother! extremely uncomfortable, it isn’t really a horror film in the traditional sense.  A ******spoiler alert****** exists for the rest of the review.

mother michelle pfieffer ed harris adam eve


The film is meant to be a parable.  The characters are unnamed and everything is too perfect.  The writer (who is labeled as capitalized Him) is meant to be a God figure creating the world for his people.  His world is the house which is open to everyone.  The Adam and Eve couple brings in sin, takes the forbidden fruit (in the form of a crystal), and their son kills the other son…forever putting a wound on the Earth.  No matter how many times the woman (aka Mother aka Earth) warns the invaders that what they are doing is dangerous, they continue to do it until it breaks…forcing God to recreate it again.

The cast is strong.  Jennifer Lawrence is pushed to the edge and does well despite being surrounded by much more seasoned actors like Ed Harris, Michelle Pheiffer and Javier Bardem.  The movie also casts real life brothers Domhnall Gleeson and Brian Gleeson in the Cain and Abel roles and Kristen Wiig also has a small role as the publicist labeled as the herald (who spread’s the word of Him).

mother worshippers javier bardem

What I have is yours!

I wish with such a high brow concept that the film had pushed the visuals harder.  When everything starts breaking down and war and death explode, it should have looked edgier and more surreal.  The movie could have been much more creative in its presentation of the story.

While not a horror movie, I felt tense through all of Mother!  Yes, the destruction of the Earth is wrong, but here, the violation and inability to do anything about it is like a nightmare theme (I’ve had dreams like that).  I don’t know how Mother! will be viewed five or ten years from now…with the hype gone and a solid director, reviewers might reassess the film and it might find its audience over time.  It could live up to its theme and be reborn.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response