I know I’m probably getting annoying with all the Stardust plugging lately, but if you haven’t checked it out yet, Mother! should be your reason to.  All of the reactions (mine included) have captured this amazing look of trauma and shock and confusion.  It’s really cool seeing visible visceral and emotional responses on people’s faces.  There’s been a full spectrum of emotions on display.

Mother! is the latest film from Darren Aronofsky, you know the guy that brought us Requiem for a Dream, Pi, and Black Swan.  If you have any familiarity with those films, that should give you plenty of info as to whether or not this is up your alley.  Strange doesn’t even begin to cover it.  On the surface, the story is about a woman who lives in a house she rebuilt for her husband.  One day they have some unexpected guests come to stay, and everything goes a little haywire from there.

Sticking to the surface for now, it appears like a haunted house horror with a big Rosemary’s Baby influence.  The filmmaking techniques were excellent, and one that particularly struck me was how closely most of it was shot.  As it was, the story was disorienting, but so much of the shots were closeups of Jennifer Lawrence’s face.  That meant that you couldn’t see a lot of what was happening, which was even more unsettling, heightened by the intense reactions from her.  Her performance was great, but it was Michelle Pfeiffer who really impressed me.  The ferocity of her role proved exactly why she’s still here after all these years in Hollywood, and I loved seeing her go toe to toe with the next generation’s formidable leading lady.

This all sounds pretty tame so far, but keep in mind, this is Aronofsky.  Things got weird.  The third act was insane.  The whole thing was unsettling.  When I watch a movie, I usually take everything at face value at first.  I usually don’t try to unpack it and interpret things until afterwards.  Walking out of there, I had no idea what to think.  It felt like I’d just experienced a waking nightmare.  With the help of some of the spoiler-guarded Stardust reactions, I started to piece together some of the symbolism and deeper story.  I think I mostly get it.  It does all come together and make a strange sort of sense, but it’s not an easy journey.  Some of the Stardust videos I saw showed people who were very upset at some of the turns the film took.  For me, it’s more like I got smacked in the face and didn’t find out until the next couple days what it was that hit me.

This is one of those movies that just has to be experienced, but it’s not for the casual theater goer.  If you want something comfortable that doesn’t require a lot of thought, that’s easily enjoyable, this isn’t that movie.  If you’re up for a film watching experience that’s a bit of a challenge, this one is so worth it.

Mother! – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

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