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Movie Review: ‘Mother!’ confronts gender roles

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Layla Abbas
Staff Writer

Darren Aronofsky’s latest thriller “Mother!” forcefully transports the audience to a secluded house far away from civilization, with tensions brewing from the start.

Jennifer Lawrence, “Mother,” and Javier Bardem, “Him,” are both abnormal characters with an odd and unsettling relationship.

In the beginning, the movie seems like it is playing in slow motion, but picks up rapidly when the doorbell rings, signaling the first uninvited guest.

Him used to be a famous writer, but has had no passion to create any work. When the doorbell rings, a fan of Him’s work is at the door. When he graciously invites the stranger into the house, Mother becomes infuriated.

After their house burned down a few years prior, Mother spent significant time redecorating it to make it feel like their home again.

Her anger brews from seeing random strangers destroy her hard work while Him seems to care very little.

Every scene was unpredictable and made the tension vividly apparent. Aronofsky, who has a history of directing movies with bold statements such as “Black Swan” and “Requiem For A Dream,” does not disappoint with his creation of “Mother!”.

He places the audience right inside the alienated house, having them feel the tension with every new uninvited guest and abrupt movements.

The pace picks up after more guests arrive, turning the house into a hotel-like building with creepy guests always asking for something.

Aronofsky presents subtle acknowledgments to the idea of a patriarchal disposition when Mother’s feelings continue to be put on the backburner in their relationship.

The audience can feel the commonality of prescribed gender roles in society through the deeper social meanings presented in “Mother!”.

One guest scrutinizes Mother for not producing children for her husband and assumes this is the cause of his unhappiness in the relationship.

He thrives off of the encouragement he receives from the strangers boosting his ego. Him felt comfort and a sense of joy from the strangers who praised his work in his home, while Mother was busy cleaning up after them and shooing them out.

Toward the climax, Aronofsky transforms this once simple movie into a complex combination of abstract and confusing scenes.

He defies the typical horror film standards and adds elements that make it abstract, confusing and enticing all at once.

With precise close-up angles and movements trailing Mother, the audience can feel the immediacy and pain present throughout the movie.

Aronofsky’s movie requires the audience to be alert at all times to follow the spastic plot.

With a few graphic and gory scenes, it will be in your best interest to focus intently.

Although Jennifer Lawrence’s acting during the blood curdling scream scenes could have been more dramatic, she nailed the job of depicting an eerie character who has had a troubling past.

Aronofsky’s movie has sparked both negative and positive feedback for its brash and out of realm connotations.

He transforms the idea of a typical horror film scenario and moves beyond what viewers are used to watching. This is a new kind of psychological thriller; one in which the next scene is always unpredictable.

Layla Abbas can be reached at layla.abbas@laverne.edu.

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