What went wrong with mother!?
In order to answer that question, you need to first look at its creator, Darren Aronofsky and his career to date.
His debut feature Pi, would wow the critics of a man who would be driven by madness and obsession with mathematics as a universal language. This idea of obsession is evident in both Javier Bardem’s character and to a degree Jennifer Lawrence’s too in mother!
Two years later that obsession and dedication for the ultimate thrill would transfer into the deeply disturbing and frightening journey of the central characters In Aronofsky’s sophomore outing, Requiem For A Dream. Only this time it would be in the form of alcohol and drug addiction that would ultimately pull their lives apart in pursuit of said dream.
And then again in The Fountain’s quest for the meaning of life through science and medicine which led one critic to describe as ‘rampant, metaphysical codswallop.’
By this time, Aronofsky was in danger of falling somewhere between genius and insanity with his subject choices.
Arguably, The Wrestler would continue this trend with a fine performance from Mickey Rooney, who struggles to fall from grace, continuously being pulled back into the ring and the fame that comes with it.
Natalie Portman would push the boundaries of brilliance in the next feature, Black Swan, that perfectly tapped into the driven ambition of a ballerina and her search for perfection.
Noticing a theme yet?
Noah similarly sees the titular character determined to fulfil his vision in Aronofsky’s first feature to lend itself to biblical matters, so it’s no wonder that he would again try from the ‘good book’ and delve into the story of Genesis for mother!
This re-imagining would be told from the eyes of Mother Earth, (Lawrence) as she will do everything she can to protect her house (the Earth), the man she loves, the creator, Him, or God if you will (Bardem).
Throw in a dash of Man/Adam (Ed Harris), Woman/Eve (Michelle Pfeiffer), their sons, Cain and Abel, and a sprinkle of humanity gone wild, and you have the chaotic, unstable world that is told throughout the movie.
Aronofsky’s world is so infused with biblical images and metaphors that some would argue that it’s laid a little too thick, and its this depiction that could easily sway the viewer away from the movie and in essence drove a lot of people from the auditorium in disgust or displeasure in its initial screenings.
And its this depiction that could easily sway the viewer away from the movie
However, if they chose to stick around to its conclusion, you see a significantly strong performance from Lawrence, who like her character pours her heart and soul into every decision and choices that she makes.
And Bardem’s drive for glory and attention (again not a flattering image of ‘our creator) is one that is truly captivating.
The pain and passion bleeds on every frame and Aronofsky taps once more into this need for humanity to strive no matter what the cost for faith, glory and beyond.
The viewer can be left feeling bruised and battered in the journey on screen, but proves fascinating as a result.
It will be interesting to see where Aronofsky transcends to next in his own quest for spiritual enlightenment and salvation.