For a movie that's supposed to be coming to our screens next month, mother! surely hasn't revealed a lot of details surrounding its mysterious plot. However, there's still quite a bit of information involving Darren Aronofsky's return to filmmaking that can be pieced together into one big question surrounding the film's plot. It's a question that's spawned because of the very art that was unveiled recently, which you can see below, and makes us ask the following question: is mother! a backdoor remake of Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby.
Before we go any further, we must warn you that this is all conjecture, based off of materials that exist openly for the film. That said, the pieces are starting to come together in our eyes, and we'll lead you through the steps to get to our conclusion. Starting with a look at the new promo art, shared by Darren Aronofsky himself, below.
It's pretty innocuous on the surface to most folks, making the film look even more like a horror movie than we've seen it look before. But if you're a dyed in the wool horror fan, that art should look pretty familiar to you, as it's a direct cribbing of the art from Rosemary's Baby. Included below, for reference, is the key art for Roman Polanski's horror classic:
Now that alone is pretty flimsy, we must admit. A poster made to look like another film's ad campaign is hardly the proof that a film is trying to remake another classic. If that were the case, then Boo! A Madea Halloween would be set as canon for both Halloween and The Exorcist. But if you really dissect the contents of the trailer to mother!, you'll see that the evidence starts to pile up connecting Aronofsky's latest to Paramount's horror staple. In particular, dialog from Javier Bardem's character seems to really tell us a lot about what to expect here.
First off, there's no question that Bardem seem all sorts of shady in mother!, just based on what's shown in the film's ad campaign. He starts off as a kind and gentle sort of man, but slowly he starts to exude that sort of sleazy charm we've seen him play off as the baddie in Skyfall and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. And then he starts to say things that really start to crank up the crazy factor, things like "They've come here to see me," when addressing the mob of people that keep showing up to the house he shares with Jennifer Lawrence. Even more suspect is the fact that he frantically shouts, "All I'm trying to do is bring life into this house," a sentiment he espouses towards the beginning of the trailer, but in a warmer tone and with slightly different wording.
This seems to lead to the conclusion that either Javier Bardem is either the Devil himself, or a cult leader worshipping Old Scratch among his bevy of followers. That life he may be trying to breathe into the house might be the son of the devil, and those new ideas he's hoping to bring about just might be the road to Revelations. Not to mention, one of the other posters previously revealed for the film shows Bardem's character seated, enveloped in fire, and with the world in his hand. So yeah... there's something seriously wrong going on here, and Jennifer Lawrence is at the center of it, which is very similar to how Mia Farrow was the odd man out in Rosemary's Baby. With even Rosemary's husband being part of the sinister plot to use her as the mother of Satan's child, the entire film is the world versus Rosemary, much like the world seems to be turning against Lawrence's Veronica.
Even just looking at the title, mother!, indicates that maternity is the central point of this film's plot. Though Michelle Pfeiffer has some interestingly cryptic dialogue of her own in the film's trailer, saying "You give, and you give, and you give. It's just never enough" (which could be one of the most common lines used while talking about the sacrifices of parenthood). A sacrifice, much like Lawrence's heart in the very shocking first poster revealed for the film (pictured at the top). With that serene, ethereal smile on her face as she offers that organ to the viewer, it seems to suggest that even if she's not going to be the mother of the Devil's child, she's more than likely a sacrificial entity at the center of whatever plot is at stake.
To summarize, here's where we think things stand: Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem live in this house together, and somehow all of these weird people show up. Somehow, these people have a photo of Bardem's character, which is more than likely an invitation of sorts to the crowd that shows up. Why are they all here? Because, surprise, Javier Bardem is a cult leader / The Devil himself, and he wants to use his bride to bring upon those thousand years of darkness we've all been told about. This could be through a child, or could be through a sacrifice. But either way, this looks pretty spooky, and we wouldn't be surprised if Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris turned out to be Bardem's parents, with Pfeiffer being the dominant / evil presence in the equation. In short, a woman who knows nothing about this sort of thing is surrounded by Satan worshippers, and may be the vessel for the Antichrist itself. Yep... sounds a lot like Rosemary's Baby.
So, is mother! a backdoor remake? While it's definitely a possibility, we'd like to think there's another scenario that could be at work, judging by Darren Aronofsky's previous filmography. Read on for our summary.
Darren Aronofsky isn't a stranger to using someone else's material for his own unique spin. Thinking back to Requiem for a Dream, there's a scene that was replicated from the anime film Perfect Blue, and Aronofsky bought the rights to the entire film to allow him to do it. Though depending on who you ask, this measure also covered all bases when he made Black Swan, which was another film that the film world loves to compare to Perfect Blue. So who's to say that setting up mother! at Paramount isn't a sly way of Aronofsky allowing himself to crib extensively from Rosemary's Baby without having to remake the film outright? If anything, this seems to be a pretty strong case for what's going on here, but we won't know how right we are until the film debuts. But thinking on what type of director Darren Aronofsky is, it's more than likely that the film was more of an inspiration than a total retread. Direct remakes don't seem his style, but heavily influenced pseudo-remakes are pretty in line.
However weird this whole line of thought may seem, there's still one undeniable connection to the legacy of Rosemary's Baby that lies in mother!: Stephen McHattie is listed as a cast member on IMDB. Should this turn out to be true, the man who played the grown up version of Adrian, Rosemary's baby himself, in the TV movie Look What Happened To Rosemary's Baby is in this very film. But then again, that could be a pure coincidence, right? We'll see how right we are when mother! is delivered into theaters on September 15.