Arts & Entertainment

“mother!”: Misleading Advertising for a Mind Bender of a Movie

By Kevin Sninsky
Contributing Writer

One of the most pivotal roles in a film’s success is its marketing. Posters plaster walls and billboards paint the skies. Previews are played in theaters so prospective viewers can gage the tone and genre of the work. Poor movies can be smash hits thanks to a successful campaign and, unfortunately, the opposite can be said of fantastic films. In the case of “mother!”, the latest film by director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), the problem lies somewhere in-between these two extremes.

“mother!” tells the story of Mother (Jenifer Lawrence) and Him (Javier Bardem), a couple living in peaceful isolation from the rest of the world. Him is a writer, struggling to create his next great work and Mother is his inspiration. The two live happily together until the quiet peace that once filled their home is suddenly interrupted by the arrival of a mysterious Man (Ed Harris) and his wife, Woman (Michelle Pfeiffer).

When trailers for the film began to surface, they undeniably broadcasted the coming of this year’s next big horror movie: eerie dialogue choices, flashes of ominous footage and all paired with disturbing, frantic string music. At one point, Lawrence’s character yells “You’re insane,” while footage plays of strangers wallowing through a field and converge on her home. Scary stuff, right? However, this is not the case here.

Though the promotions shared what appeared to be a horror movie, it is not a horror movie. At best, it is a psychological thriller, but that may be going a little far.

The movie is supposedly an allegory for God’s creation of mankind and their destructive impact on Mother Earth. In this interpretation, Jennifer Lawrence plays the role of Mother Earth, while Javier Bardem portrays God.

While the execution of the film is done well, viewers going into the theater without knowing the film’s true meaning may wind up as oblivious to it as myself. The plot of the film is not necessarily hard to follow, but the biblical aspects of the story may not be apparent to those without a decent bit of knowledge regarding the “good book.”

With all that being said, whether or not “mother!” is any good, I still found myself enjoying it if not for just how insane of a ride some of the film is. The movie is just so weird at spots that I could not help but just appreciate it. I found myself completely perplexed by many of the film’s unanswered questions, but at the same time, the same questions also kept my mind racing.  What does it all mean? Where could this possibly go next?

When most people read a film review, above all else, they expect to hear whether said film is “good” or “bad.” However, in the case of “mother!”, things are not that simple. Was it amazing? It might have been. Was it terrible? Quite possibly.

If you want something scary to carry you into that Fall feeling, see IT, but if you are looking for something a bit more obscure, something to make you think, “mother!” just may be the film for you.