When art needs an explanation: Revisiting Aronofsky’s Mother!
It’s been about six months since I sprinted out of the movie theater during the tail end of Darren Aronofsky’s “misleading monster of a film”, Mother! Yes, I just quoted myself. That’s a thing, right?
Thanks, Wikipedia for filling in the blanks on that one.
If you’re curious as to why this unfortunate occurrence took place, you obviously haven’t seen the film. You should go watch it right now, read this after you finish, and then come back here when you’re all done.
One odd movie leads to another…
I started thinking about Mother! all over again after I watched Julia Ducournau’s magnificently horrific film Raw on Netflix a few weekends ago.
I don’t want to give away too much because its SO DAMN WORTH dedicating the hour and 39 minutes to seeing it yourselves, but let’s just say it features cannibalism, sister rivalry, and a disturbing scene that reminds me a little too much of the Buffalo Bill “Goodbye Horses” scene from The Silence of the Lambs, now that I think about it…
Raw is a bit more on the subtle side compared to Aronofsky’s newest endeavor, and a little more forthcoming about its metaphorical qualities…
And, it all takes place at a vet school.
Yeah, it officially wins the award for “Weirdest Movie Setting Ever”.
Raw is a bit more on the subtle side compared to Aronofsky’s newest endeavor, and a little more forthcoming about its metaphorical qualities, but at the core its a weirdly artistic stab at a concept that’s hard to put into words.
The WTF spectrum
I think it says a whole lot when a director has to explain what his film is trying to say…
If I had to place myself on the WTF Spectrum (yup, that’s a thing now) regarding Mother!, I think I would land somewhere around a six out of ten. Even watching the last act of the film, which was the most WTF by far, I knew that there had to be something more hiding beneath all of the intense surrealism and extreme violence. Let’s say it’s the English major in me that won’t let my brain rest when it comes to these sorts of situations.
Reduced to its simplest form, Mother! is the world’s weirdest allegory and most exaggerated hyperbole in existence.
Mother! is an environmental parable that incorporates religious subtext to get its point across.
I think it says a whole lot when a director has to explain what his film is trying to say; and Aronofsky certainly had something to say once the audience had enough to time to compose themselves. To soothe their bruised psyches, he summed it up in so many words: Mother! is an environmental parable that incorporates religious subtext to get its point across.
Though Aronofsky’s true intent is made quite clear through his dialogue with critics and the like, the audience is left to ask the question:
By this point, most of us who know films know that Aronofsky is an “all or nothing” kind of artist and Mother! is a great example of a film that is “art for art’s sake” – a film that rids itself of the giant question mark that obscured its supposed meaning, and embraced wholeheartedly its namesake exclamation point.
With the mystery eradicated, at least to some extent (thanks, Darren!), we’re free to shed our confusion and disdain and appreciate Mother! for what is really is: a convoluted and socially conscious work of art.