mother! (2017) Reviews and overview

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mother! is a 2017 American mystery horror film written and directed by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan; producer and co-scripter of Below). The Protozoa Pictures production stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem and Ed Harris.

A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence…

“There’s no question Aronofsky has made something that will turn some dizzy with delirium while others retch on its fumes […] But for me, the former is the only possible response. This is a mad, transfixing, rolling thunder-crash of a film…” Robbie Collin, The Telegraph

” …maybe it is just about the gleeful anarchy involved in destruction, in simply taking the audience on a series of stomach-turning quantum leaps into madness. As horror it is ridiculous, as comedy it is startling and hilarious, and as a machine for freaking you out it is a thing of wonder.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“To be sure, readings of the film will vary; some critics will try to decipher its writer-director’s attitude, while the public will mostly respond to the ghoulish twists and kicks, of which there are plenty. From a dramatic point of view, there are several gaping holes, notably the unexplained disappearances of certain characters, and cheap dramaturgical conveniences…” Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

“This is not a traditional horror movie, rather something one might equate with the works of Lars Von Trier or David Lynch; at the same time, it’s completely unique. It’s a good movie, but I liked it less than both Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, and I imagine most horror fans will also rate it below Aronofsky’s best. mother! may resonate with fans of metaphorical horror like It Follows, The Neon Demon,and The Babadook...Joshua Millican, Horrorfreak News

“ …mother! is so intent on putting an undeserving woman through the terrors of the damned that there’s a residue of misogyny to its design. Toss in a twist ending worthy of M. Night Shyamalan (a good or bad thing? Maybe both), and you’ve got a head-trip horror movie with something for everyone — except, perhaps, for those who want to emerge feeling more haunted than assaulted.” Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“The house bleeds, it has oddly human-looking orifices, it has a beating heart. Aronofsky sends his characters into a nightmarish dreamscape that grows and evolves, particularly in the bonkers last third, which builds in pitch, scope, and sheer cinematic audacity, picking up overt religious and political resonance.” Ben Croll, IndieWire

“There’s more to the world of this film than you can even imagine, and Aronofsky only gets more intensely metaphorical as the film proceeds to one of the most simply mindblowing climaxes in a very long time. In an already notable career, the peak insanity set piece of mother! may be Aronofsky’s most remarkable accomplishment to date.” Brian Tallerico,

“You can go to town listing the references to other artists’ work here, from the poster-teased Rosemary’s Baby to Repulsion to Antichrist to, hell, the Southern Gothic gunge of that underrated Kate Hudson potboiler The Skeleton Key. But they all seemingly add up to one idiosyncratic artist’s unforgiving self-examination—with an undertow of humility, even apology, to the big, swaggering gut-slinging up on screen.” Guy Lodge, Vanity Fair

“Overall, mother! is a fantastic movie that will not leave audience’s memory banks for many years to come. It is gripping, horrifying, scary-good, and downright intelligent. Knowing just how to meld natural human emotions with cinematic fiction, creating one hell of a story each and every time, this is another amazing achievement in Darren Aronofsky’s body of work.” Stephen DeJoseph Jr., Cryptic Rock

“Underneath the quasi-religious myth of this old dark house drama seem to lie everyday irritations – you get a sense Aronofsky must have heard some uncomfortable things during couples therapy in the amazingly unflattering depiction of the toll on a decent woman taken by living with a generation-older genius (‘you didn’t love me but you loved that I loved you’) and the exaggerated-to-infinity-but-still-credible vision of what it’s like to live with but be shut out of the creative process in all its silliness and cruelty.” The Kim Newman Web Site

Main cast:
Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson, Stephen McHattie, Kristen Wiig, Stefan Simchowitz, Jovan Adepo, Robert Higden, Amanda Warren, Eric Davis, Marcia Jean Kurtz, and Mizinga Mwinga.

Filming locations:
Montréal, Québec, Canada

Film Facts:
The film’s working title was Day 6.


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