(Directed by Darren Aronofsky) (2017) -1*
Directed into a stinking ditch by Aronofsky (whose Black Swan at least one of us in the TVC office quite liked), mother! is a complete whackadoodle of a movie. Whack. A. Doodle. (But not in a good way like, say, Aronofsk’s Requiem for a Dream or The Lobster). After meretriciously deluding the sad, unsuspecting viewer with a set-up that invokes Rosemary’s Baby, The Others, the Book of Genesis and “The Tell-Tale Heart”, Darren goes completely off piste, off his head and off the (exhausted and ravaged) planet. The metaphoric Garden of Eden gives way to the Hell of other people.
In what seems like a big joke at the audience’s expense, the resulting hours and hours (it seems) of irritating, repetitive, inexplicable, pointless, revolting and pretentious goop leave the viewer no less sad, but certainly less liable to be duped again. If you find yourself in a Get Out or A Clockwork Orange situation and have no choice but to watch this drivel, don’t waste brain cells speculating about what’s going on. Let us do the work for you – none of it makes sense or is even vaguely interesting in any literal, allegorical, metaphysical or cinematic way. Watch it if you like riot scenes and suspicious looking floorboards. But really, don’t. Just don’t.
We give it half a star for Jennifer Lawrence’s wigs and half a star for Michelle Pfeiffer’s sneer. We take off half a star for a Babadook house and another half for Javier Bardem’s weird nose (yes, that’s the appropriate level of consideration). Javier, by the way, is becoming the Raul Julia of off piste acting – either well over or well under. mother! is a Mother of a misstep for a not-untalented auteur, who has an ambition way beyond his powers at present: “for dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.” By the way, like the Old Testament deity, we deduct another star, out of sheer resentment. (* – * = 0.)