Friday, September 22, 2017

Some initial thoughts on "mother!"

Darren Aronofsky's "mother!" is one of the most challenging films I've seen in years, and rightfully so. It is an elegantly simple yet ambitious film layered in metaphor. It reads like a work of plainly-crafted but dense, disturbing literature. And intentionally - judging by its audience and critical receptions.

The film explores deep anxieties about the dualism of beauty and horror in the human condition - asking for our empathy and sacrifice but also our sense of guarded, protective inner boundaries. The plot is perfectly clear yet altogether incoherent - delving into the logic of dreams and nightmares. It plays like something between "Eraserhead" and "Children of Men" if staged by Eugène Ionesco or Bertolt Brecht. It has themes that are both timeless and yet somehow immediate... evocative of perennial creation myths yet also conjuring imagery of eyewitnesses in a war zone.

If what I've written has scared you away from ever seeing this film, I've probably succeeded. But it is an undeniably driven, completely arresting, and inspired experience which may yield fruits from further study. It could also enjoy renewed appreciation in years to come; this is more than can be said about most box office drivel coming out of Hollywood these days. It is the accomplishment of a director, actors, and their creative ensemble willing to take bold creative risks and produce unconventional art. And for that, I'm thankful to have made time for this harrowing journey of a film.


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