It’s the houseguests from hell in writer-director Darren Aronofsky’s latest film, the bonkers “mother!” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a couple living in an isolated, rambling country house, who have to contend with some rambunctious invaders.
Based off the trailer and poster, many have surmised that this is Aronofsky’s tribute to “Rosemary’s Baby,” and there are similarities: the waifish young blonde wife (Lawrence), the egotistical artist husband (Bardem), the overbearing older couple (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer), who make themselves at home despite the discomfort of the subservient, passive bride.
The films share character types and the theme of pregnancy and parenthood, but “mother!” is possessed of a raucous, wild energy that builds to a riotous crescendo, and the villain here is not Satan, but unchecked humanity itself. There’s more than enough evil to go around with the people who assemble in this home.
Cinematically, “mother!” is an expertly executed wild ride. Aronofsky keeps the audience focused completely on the subjective experience of Lawrence’s unnamed young wife, as unwanted guests invade her sanctuary, a huge, lonely Victorian mansion. The camera follows her as she walks throughout the house, grants us access to her point of view, moves uncomfortably close for nearly abstract close ups of the dewy planes of Lawrence’s face. The overlapping sound design is note perfect. Footfalls take on the tenor of gunshots, voices signal danger, and always, she experiences an overwhelming ringing in her ears.
Lawrence is remarkably restrained throughout…
click here to read more.