Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Only very few great filmmakers didn’t stumble in their careers. Stanley Kubrick is certainly one of them, occupying the top of a list that also includes Billy Wilder, Luis Bunuel, and David Lean. As an example of the present time, I can point Paul Thomas Anderson.
This introduction is just to say that this is not the case of the American helmer Darren Aronofsky, who conquered me with superlative works such as “Black Swan”, “The Wrestler”, “Pi”, and “Requiem For a Dream”, but failed to engage with trifles like “The Fountain” and “Noah”. However, if the latter two demonstrated to be shaky and debilitated in their conception, his brand new thriller, “Mother!”, feels highly formulaic and infuriatingly decrepit, not to mention pathetic.
Forcing ambiguity and obscurantism, the director not only messed up his writing with futile symbolism, but also didn’t give names to any of the characters.
Javier Bardem plays a vain literary author who is struggling with writer’s block. He lives secluded somewhere in the country with his insecure, childless wife, embodied by Jennifer Lawrence, who manages and fixes everything in the huge house when not paralyzed with uncanny seizures.
Even still bonded by love, their life is immersed in cold monotony for quite some time, and nothing better, according to the novelist, than housing a weird, dysfunctional married couple to stimulate creativity.
The strange man (Ed Harris) is a doctor and also a staunch fan of the writer. In fact, he is dying, and the kind invitation to stay with his idol for an indefinite period of time is accepted like a grace. He brings his nosy, impertinent wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) to stay with him, causing discomfort and anxiety in the confused Lawrence. Serious trouble coincides with the arrival of the strangers’ unbalanced sons.
Up to this occurrence, one still searches for something palpable, giving Aronofsky’s plot the benefit of the doubt. Illusion! From this moment on, the film falls into ludicrous situations, including anarchic home invasions, which not even Lawrence's charm was able to repair. Moreover, Bardem’s character, choosing fame over family, feels phony in his vanity. The actor was never accomplished in his role.
"Mother!" may be visually arresting but it’s hollow at its core, embracing an implausible, nearly-surreal darkness that is inept and devoid of any sense.
As one of the worst movies of 2017, this is a clear sign that Mr. Aronofsky needs urgent help for his next script.