Then a magical thing happened. He surprised the hell out of me with "Black Swan." It's nothing less than a work of elegant magic.
Since then, my interest in Aronofsky as artist was piqued. I watched his other films, I even gave "Requiem for a Dream" another shot. This has led to repeated disappointment.
So every time I see he has a film coming out, I'm wary, even about a film that looks as compelling as "mother!", I'm curious to see if he has made his second great film.
I'll try not to be heavy on the allegorical language, but that's easier said than done. I'll do my best.
He and Mother live in an intimate dream. They are clearly so deeply in love that neither of them needs anyone else. The crystal He discovered seems to be the only thing they truly need. He keeps it in a special, somewhat restricted room.
He is a writer. The film is vague on what kind of writer or His status. We only know that His work is significant.
Mother's role in the dream is constructing the house that He had lost in a cataclysmic fire. She does a wonderful job, building the building's structure back and taking care of the decorations inside. Her attention to detail is impressive. There is even beauty in the way she blends earth tones. Such delicacy just with browns.
It's a paradise until Man (Ed Harris) shows up at their door. While Mother is wary, He welcomes Man as if he were a long lost friend. The term "mi casa, su casa" is more than just an expression to Him.
When Woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) shows up, she is accepted as well. After all, she is Man's wife. Despite Mother's objections, He insists they put the two up because they have nowhere else to go.
Man and Woman's sons show up, running for their parents, already in a shouting match about some kind of financial grudge. The Oldest Son and Younger Brother fight until Oldest Son beats Younger Brother to death.
Of course, friends and family of Man and Woman come to the house to comfort them. To Mother's horrified disbelief, He welcomes them all to celebrate, mourn and stay. Even His publisher (Kristen Wiig) contributes to the riot as a monstrous herald.
This leads to chaos and the rest of the film plays out the dangers of His love for people even as they destroy everything He and Mother have. The third act of "mother!" has haunted (I know, strong word, but apt) me more than practically anything I've seen in cinema, period.
And as gorgeous as this allegory is, there's something you should bear in mind before you watch it. "mother!" is a horror film. Be careful.
I saw the film twice and waited to write about it because I've been quite obsessed and I wanted to get some distance before I tried to make sense of it to put my thoughts and feelings into words.
The allegory is fairly obvious, but what isn't is how it's going to work into one's world view.
For me, "mother!" is a private film, as it meditates on my faith.
Here's where I can not agree with Aronofsky. He has characters to signify everyone and everything in our faith except for Satan. A lot of you may laugh at me when I say I believe in Satan, but I do.
How could anybody in their right mind look back on the last century and maintain that he doesn't exist?
The concept that Earth is a phoenix is an intriguing one that I still haven't formed an opinion about. There's a fascinating discussion to be had about that prospect.
I was deeply touched by His love for the adoring, riotous and destructive people. He loves them more than his creation. More than mother. Even more than his only Son.
Like I said, "mother!" is intensely personal, so you'll have to watch it and put it together yourself. But do go and see the film. It wasn't nearly as beautiful as "Black Swan", but how many movies are?
There are so many pretentious adjective words I could throw around to impress you, but I'll just say this. There are good movies and there are bad movies and we spend a lot of time criticizing and adoring them. "mother!" is so much more than that. The dialogues the film is sure to open up revisions of exactly what we believe about God.
You can't really say that about many films. But this one is that important.
I've heard this film referred to as heretical, but that's just not so. It's not only worth watching, it's worth reflection.