In seven days, God created Heaven, the Universe, Earth, the natural world, and the first man and woman. In five days, Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky banged out a script encompassing all of God's efforts. Plus everything that's ever happened since. Plus a little of the future. Plus the unfathomable. Let's just say Aronofsky isn't so happy with how God's experiment's been going.
Mother!, the writer-director's breathtaking new thriller, stars Jennifer Lawrence as a woman trapped by her husband, his adoring fans, and a three-story Victorian, and fires off religious and earthly metaphor like explosive shells out of a World War I trench mortar. Sold as a star-studded horror-movie attraction, Aronofsky's film immediately rattles expectations with the innocent incineration of an ingenue, the introduction of a magical stone, wielded by "Him" (Javier Bardem), that can reverse the inferno, and the awakening of "Mother," played by Lawrence in a draped white shirt, who gracefully begins winding through the hallways of her in-progress renovation job. Only at the end of the film do we realize what we've witnessed is an extinction level event, and that Mother is one of many who will suffer the inevitable hell. Maybe?
IT it is not. Reportedly inspired by Susan Griffith's 1979 feminist touchstone Woman and Nature, which drew a line between the male-female relationship and the treatment of the planet, Mother! Is a treatise on romance, creativity, the environment, the allure of organized religion, and society's sadistic dedication to interpretable commandments. It's robust with blunt symbolism and brutal imagery that will send some viewers into a fury of conversation and others into straight fury. The movie proudly wears its "F" Cinemascore like a badge of honor (as it should).
Aronofsky loves a good puzzle -- this is a man whose custom-built office desk is basically Lemarchand's box from Hellraiser, after all -- and Mother! is full of unlockable pleasures. The character parallels, the cryptic objects, the infuriating asides from an assortment of party crashers, every blood-soaked, vaginal crack in the wood of Mother's violated home… then those moments that aren't spoilable so much as unspeakable. All you want to do after Mother! is pick Aronofsky's brain about it -- so that's what we did.