The “Mother!” of all horror films

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By Matt McDonald, Columnist

3/4

Before I say anything, I want to strongly emphasize discretion when going to see this movie. If you are easily emotional, I would go into the theater with caution.

“Mother!” is a disturbing psychological thriller that keeps you invested — or trapped — from the very beginning. A well-known poet with an extreme case of writer’s block (Javier Bardem) and his wife (Jennifer Lawrence) live in a secluded house in the middle of a forest, and when strangers consistently appear at the house, the poet has no qualms about letting them stay for a few nights despite his wife’s apprehension. However, the more guests that appear, the more out of control and dangerous the situation becomes.

When she can’t trust her unreliable husband’s sanity any longer, Lawrence’s character must take matters into her own hands, and along the way finds out more about her husband, the house and herself than she thought possible.

This movie is without a doubt in my mind the most twisted and distressing movie I have ever seen. That being said, it is extremely well done. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, the same director of “Requiem for a Dream” and “Black Swan,” this seemingly suspenseful mystery becomes a claustrophobic assault on the senses and emotions.

Starting in what seems to be the middle, there is not a whole lot of setup; the movie goes right into a plot immersed in a perturbing tone. These set-ups continue for about half the film, never once answering a single question brought up.

When the climax does hit, it hits hard. Within minutes you are thrown into a whirlwind of confusion and anarchy, quickly escalating to an onslaught of violence and chaos that doesn’t let up or let you breathe for almost thirty minutes.

While it’s easy to say that a major problem with this movie is how abstract and confusing it is, I think that wouldn’t be giving the movie enough credit.

However, I do have one large issue with it. The whole movie figuratively and literally hits the audience over the head with metaphors for Catholicism and the Bible. This in and of itself is very interesting and complex, giving something to think and talk about.  Yet there are multiple points in the plot where things happen for no other reason than to serve this metaphor and not to advance the story in any way, specifically in the climax, in which the intensity is taken to an unnecessarily taxing level only to be mentally draining.

“Mother!” definitely left an imprint on me. There are undoubtedly many people who will hate this movie for its message or its execution, but it doesn’t shy away or try to please anyone. It knows its story and its purpose and runs with it.

There will be many interpretations made and questions raised about this film, and I’m not sure many will be answered. It doesn’t cross the line; it picks up the line and throws it away. Without the theory of metaphor, it is solely a perplexing, uncontainable and almost animalistic piece of art.

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