Pushing all critics aside, modern audiences are pretty suave, so they may take it as a slap to the face that the star of a movie they hate has to come out and explain it to them like a bunch of school children. But that's exactly what is happening with the thriller Mother!. Directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Jennifer Lawrence, the movie earned an F Cinemascore. While critics liked the movie, general audiences loathed it. Lawrence and her director believe the movie is being hugely misunderstood. And they have both come out to try and explain their work.
In Mother, a couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. It is a riveting psychological thriller about love, devotion and sacrifice. If we're to believe the star and her director, it's also about so much more.
There is no denying that the movie has struck a chord with everyone who has seen it. And while it's not being looked at favorably at the moment, it could go onto become considered a masterpiece. Earlier in the week, Paramount Pictures sent a letter to haters in response to that F Cinemascore, with the studio standing by their filmmaker, and calling audiences a bunch of hypocrites for hating something original. Jennifer Lawrence spoke with Entertainment Weekly before the movie opened to the masses, but after it had already screened in Venice and Toronto to very mixed reactions.
"The movie was called Day Six [on set]: it could be about the creation and the end of the universe. You have the creation of man and women and then the corruption of man and woman and then overpopulation and creation of religion and so on and so forth. [Darren] is stripping out all nationality away from everyone - if something happens on the other side of the world, you don't care. If it happens to your neighbor's house, you care. If someone puts out a cigarette on your carpet, that matters to you. So what he's saying is this is the entire world, this is our one earth. This is all our sink. So stop bouncing on it!"
Director Darren Aronofsky is also standing up for his art, and reiterates some of these same ideas in a recent interview with Indiewire. His intent was to break genre norms and give audiences something they've never seen before. Well, it sounds like they weren't ready for that. The filmmaker has this to say about his controversial movie.
"Lawrence is Gaia, or Mother Earth, while her house represents the world, a living, breathing organism being destroyed by its inhabitants. Her husband, known as "Him" in the film, is God. Out of boredom, he creates Adam and Eve (the couple), who proceed to destroy both Gaia's creation and His study (the Garden of Eden), which holds God's perfect crystal (the apple). Their dueling sons are Cain and Abel. They also bring worshippers to praise God, who keep sitting on Mother's unsupported sink, and eventually, cause the pipes to burst into the Great Flood. God impregnates Mother, who gives birth to the Messiah, a chaotic sequence followed by a disquieting communion and Revelations. "[It's about] taking a piece of a world and confining it to a space and making it a conversation about society, lined up with a personal human story... [Mother Earth has] given us life on this planet. All she does is give us life. We also see nature's wrath in the scene when Mother is attacking the crowd. The allegory is, here are these incredible infinite resources given to us and we abuse it all. We don't follow lessons from kindergarten to clean up your own mess. We are empathizing with Mother Nature, feeling her pain and her wrath."
All great works of art are more about what is lurking under the surface and not exactly what is being shown in plain sight. And that is clearly the case here. The movie is more than the sum of its parts. But perhaps its not for Joe Friday Night and Mary Just Wants to See a Popcorn Movie. It's an arthouse indie masquerading as a weekend blockbuster, and some were whiplashed by that notion. But audiences shouldn't be discredited for not getting it. The movie is what it is, there will always be haters. And there will always be divisive movies that split audiences down the middle. Despite what you may think of Jennifer Lawrence right now and some of the public comments she has made, perhaps Mother deserves a second look if you just weren't that into it. And perhaps, this is all a lot of hot air from a filmmaker who just didn't get it right and missed the mark. It's all up for interpretation.