RATING: 3.5 out of 5
Read any two reviews of Darren Aronofsky’s film “mother!” on the internet and you’ll most likely get two very different opinions. There are quite a handful of critics who hated it even going so far as to call it “the worst movie of the year” (which is an exaggeration kasi wala na sigurong mas malala pang pelikula kesa sa “Transformers: The Last Knight” hangga’t maglabas ulit ng bagong Transformers na movie na mas malala). While there are others who sing its praises. Whether you liked it or not, we can all agree that the movie is definitely polarizing.
On it’s surface, “mother!” tells the story of a couple (Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem) living in an idyllic home in a secluded location. But their existence is put on its head when a man (Ed Harris) and woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) arrive at their home uninvited. Eventually, more and more of these unwanted guests arrive and “Mother” is forced outside her comfort zone and towards her breaking point.
(CONTAINS SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT SO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK)
Notice that I say “on the surface” because that’s not what the movie is really about. One thing you shouldn’t do when you decide to go see this movie is to take the story literally kasi masisira ulo mo sa pagka-absurdo ng lahat ng makikita mo. I usually advise people to go watch a movie without reading anything about it so that they don’t come in with biases or preconceived notions. “Mother!” is that rare exception where I think a little bit of reading before coming to go see it will help you appreciate the film even more. Kasi pag pinanuod mo yung trailer, it makes it seem like the movie is a psychological thriller when it’s actually not. (Which is probably one of the reasons why a lot of critics are hating it because they went in expecting something else entirely.)
You see, the movie, is completely allegorical. Based on my own interpretation, Jennifer Lawrence’s character is supposedly “Mother Earth” and Javier Bardem is none other than God himself. (Hindi kahit sinong god ha, siya si God mismo.) Everything that unfolds on screen is just an allegory for religion, the Bible, the creation of man, the relationship between husband and wife, man’s dependence on addictive substances, our behavior of worshiping icons and celebrities, at maraming maraming pang iba. Pwera biro! Basically para siyang yung mga pelikulang pinapanuod sayo ng prof mo nung college para gawan ng reflection paper tapos dadayain mo ang spacing at font size para pahabain.
Like most of Aronofsky’s films, “mother!” is being considered as a “love it or hate it” type of film and I don’t think that’s accurate. I for one am on the fence when it comes to the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed the first hour or so of it but I think everything goes a bit over-the-top and the allegories start to feel forced towards the end. But one thing that I do know is that it’s one of the most ambitious and original movies I’ve seen in quite a while and that alone is an impressive feat. A lot of people complain about Hollywood force-feeding the public with a deluge of reboots, superhero movies, and rehashed ideas. Well here’s a movie with A-list Oscar-winning actors, an A-list director, and a big studio giving us a movie na I’m sure sa mga meetings pa lang nila alam na nila na maraming tao ang puwedeng mabwisit. That takes balls.
Usually when people ask me about movie recommendations, kahit gaano kahaba pa ang review ko simple lang naman ang punto e either maganda or hindi maganda. I think “mother!” is in a category all on it’s own. It’s definitely not for everyone but I’d recommend for people to see it just so they can form their own opinion about it. Even if you end up hating it, any true movie fan will appreciate it for what it tries to do. I also don’t think that there’s an interpretation of the movie that’s absolute. Each person will spot and interpret scenes differently than the next person and I think that’s Darren Aronofsky’s wanted when he set out to make this movie.
I don’t think the director and the cast went out to make a movie that was aiming to be universally-loved kasi malamang nung binasa pa lang nila yung script alam na nila magiging reaction ng mga tao dito e. I think what they wanted was to make a movie that will have people talking and thinking about it for years to come. In that regard, despite what the box-office numbers will tell us, “mother!” is a success.
mother! is now out in cinemas everywhere.
Photos courtesy of PARAMOUNT PICTURES