mother! – Some Scattered Thoughts

How would you like to spend 2 hrs. this close or closer to Jennifer Lawrence’s face?

spoilers below

mother! – the new film from Darren Aronofsky, starring Jennifer Lawrence – is actually worth watching. That, already, makes it a major achievement – by and large, movies suck. What’s more, it even manages to be pretty damn unique. Its basic strategy is twofold:

One: keep the camera max ten inches from Jennifer Lawrence’s face. Capitalize on the fact that the audience is just as confused and upset as Lawrence is. In other words, feed the audience their own experience of watching this movie in the form of the star’s omnipresent performance.

Two: take the house-as-planet-Earth metaphor and play it out as literally as possible. Mismatches between what a house is literally like and what life on planet Earth is literally like will arise. Allow these mismatches to develop their own absurd logic and allow that logic to run the film’s dramatic engine.

The result is, again, a surprisingly unique movie. I’ve never seen another movie like it – I don’t get to say that often. It’s also interesting enough to get me to write this post, which is more than a movie has compelled me to do in years.

Now, however much I may appreciate the film’s uniqueness, I do want to air three complaints:

One: Darren Aronofsky’s formula really does come down to shock value. I haven’t seen Noah, and I don’t remember The Wrestler or The Fountain.…

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