Darren Aronofsky’s psychological horror stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a couple in not so much a narrative but a descent into what-the-fuck?  They portray conduits of hellish pursuit dictated by a filmmaker on the edge of a nervous breakdown, vengefully striking out at his ego, superego and the world around him.  I mean, you know when someone tells you their dreams in nightmarish details and it’s more interesting to them than you: well, this is two hours of that.

While this is technically a bravura tour-de-force in design, composition, cinematic experimentation and delivery I was utterly bored by, what is essentially, an indulgent, pretentious and nihilistic void of a film.  Darren Aronofsky’s prior work such as Requiem for a Dream (2000), Pi (1998), The Wrestler (2008) and Black Swan (2010) combined cinematic style and protagonist emotion superbly. Mother, in its critiques of Hollywood, fame and some kind of biblical allegory stuff wildly missed the mark for me. I wasn’t even shocked by the horrific denouement as it all happened in a surreal vacuum where I could not care less about any person or anything.


Christopher Nolan used cinematic form to powerful effect in Dunkirk (2017) and moved me immensely but Mother just bludgeoned me into dull submission. I wonder if Aronofsky’s experience on Noah (2014) had somehow warped his mind and the film is a creative and therapeutic cry for help, while at the same time damning the executives who possibly killed his film baby. He certainly throws a lot of toys from his pram in this violent, bloody, fiery, misogynistic and misanthropic misfire!

Lawrence was incredible as the battered lead while Bardem just felt confused and off-the-pace-at-times to me. While it is the work of a filmmaker I would certainly call an artist and generally I love the surrealist films of Luis Bunuel and David Lynch, the nightmarish logic narrative did not work for me as the cyclical parlour trick in closing the story is mere sleight-of-hand to fool the audience into thinking the film is deeper than it is.


Ultimately, Darren Aronofsky, based on his prior films, is a risk-taking, boundary-pushing genius and some will adore this brave and courageous misadventure. However, for me it was an awful, pretentious heap of a film which exists as an entertainment void both nihilistic and dull. I mean I’m just a lowly office drone but I paid my money and earned my opinion. Because this film abuses the privilege and patience of the audience delivering a technically brilliant but overall clichéd, first-world-problems-poet-with-writer’s-block-world-murdering-art-fan-hating two hours I will never get back.

Mark: 5 out of 11

9 thoughts on “MOTHER (2017) – CINEMA REVIEW”

  1. It was interesting reading your thoughts. I view this film a bit differently from you. For me, this movie was akin to Black Swan – they are virtually indistinguishable. The rides to hell in both films were great, and engrossing, but they both lacked emotion. I just hate “big budget” Aronofsky because all the pretentiousness will surface. On the other hand, his small budget productions are just perfect. Requiem for a Dream and even the Fountain were somehow bursting with meaning, emotion and special insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do enjoy your way with words but find it hard to roll with “an indulgent, pretentious and nihilistic void of a film.” I think its one of the most original films of recent times. Its very open-ended and encourages many interpretations, and thats the mark of good cinema.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. Your review was excellent too.

      Oh, I totally accept people are going to really go with Aronofsky’s vision and appreciate his master of form and bravery at not spoon feeding his audience easily digestible chunks of simplistic genre fodder. But compared, to his other films it lacked emotional heart and empathy with the characters and world they lived in.

      I’m pleased you found it absorbing and great cinema but I could not wait for it to be over. I file this one under: “Make a great essay but unwatchable cinema.” It happens. Happy to agree to disagree 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. An extremely well written review. I feel like I need to watch this movie because it has caused so much debate, but it really doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, at all. As soon as I hear ‘pretentious’, I get the hell out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the positive comments. It’s just so interesting how works of art (or craft) can divide people. Some people loved this film and I can see why. I got what it was saying but it just didn’t work for me. I mean it’s great to watch something outside the Hollywood norm but even arty stuff should consider the paying public a touch. I mean this still had quite a big budget $30 millionaire it wasn’t a low budget experimental film. Each to their own I guess!


      1. For me it’s always whether the ‘arty stuff’ adds to the story or not. If it feels like it’s done to make it appear more clever, then I don’t see the point and it just distracts from the story/characters. Keep writing, filmfrolic x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Absolutely agree. Well, in this the filmmaker, in my humble opinion, using all the cinematic style and form to make a point about life and the world. I personally lost all empathy for the characters. But, hey, some will say it’s a work of genius so fair enough. It’s great that everyone has different views 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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