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I hope that I am not giving too much away or scaring off any potential viewers with my tagline. The film’s title is striking : “Mother (exclamation point)”. In Aronofsky’s world it probably has several levels of meaning. Those of you who have seen “Black Swan” and “Requiem for a Dream” will know what I mean.
Mr. Aronofsky has been a busy fellow. He has 11 credits as producer (notably Jackie and The Fighter), 14 credits as director and 8 credits as writer (including Mother, Noah, The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream, and Pi ) . I think that it is his dual role as writer and director that attracts me to his work. He conceptualizes his films as well as depicting them and presenting them. He has been quoted with the words :”As film-makers we can show where a person’s mind goes, as opposed to theatre which is more to sit back and watch it.” He is admirably obsessive about is work as well which can give rise to great art. This is evidenced by his one perhaps failure critically, “The Fountain” which persisted through budgetary constraints and casting problems over several years but still surfaced in 2006. I finally just personally caught up with it on video this week and I still find myself mesmerized by his work.
Aronofsky’s film have received acclaim and generated controversy in liberal proportions. Even his fairly innocent looking biblical epic “Noah” in 2014 was banned in some Muslim countries for “contradicting the teachings of Islam”…such is the global community we live in. Another pattern that I have noticed is that he frequently gets strong acting performances out of his lead actors ; Ellen Burstyn in “Requiem”, Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler”, and Nathalie Portman in “Black Swan”.
AND NOW, “MOTHER!”
I didn’t realize until i watched the trailer in the theatre on Wednesday night that the film had such a broad superlative cast four first – rate stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer. I harken back to Mike Nichol’s film of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf when presented with this kind of cast. In this case the visiting couple are uninvited whereas in the Edward Albee play George and Martha are expecting the young couple portrayed by George Segal and Sandy Dennis. All of the present actors have great range… in particular Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem. For Jennifer Lawrence’s serious work check out “Winter’s Bone”, Silver Linings Playbook, and “American Hustle”. For Javier Bardem’s capabilities check out Biutiful, Vicky Christina Barcelona, No Country For Old Men and The Sea Inside. There are purportedly some commentators out there who are finding parallels in Mother! to Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby. In Aronofsky’s background he is reputed to be a fan of classic movies and we have two classic films mentioned in the same breath here. Both of these films had literary sources : Edward Albee’s play and Ira Levin’s novel. I believe as a writer and a cinematic stylist Aronofsky would want to strike out on original ground so I don’t credit the second premise. For Aronofsky’s own perspective on his work check out this interview :
If I haven’t exhausted you with my long-windedness come on out and check out the movie. photo Paramount Pictures