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The trailers to the new Darren Aronofsky thriller mother! have shown us a film that looks incredibly bizarre and more than a bit terrifying. Now, the film has screened and the reviews are...interesting. While most films usually build some sort of consensus among critics, mother! reviews seem to be all over the place. It's good, it's ridiculous, it's somewhere in between. The only thing that people seem to be in agreement on is that the movie is weird, as The Daily Beast points out...
This is a film designed to fuck with you. And fuck with you it does...the torment brought upon Lawrence's Mother is something else entirely. It is a sickeningly glorious mess.
Mother! follows Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a married couple living in seclusion when a pair of uninvited houseguests (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeifer) arrive to make things interesting. What follows is clearly a mind trip of horror and insanity, the only question among critics is how well the insanity worked to achieve its desired effect. Collider was of the opinion that movie had some issues, but that the movie was still something that should be witnessed.
mother! isn't quite as fascinating as it thinks it is, and the hellish setting perhaps goes too far, but it is relentless and it sure is something that needs to be experienced.
However, on the other hand, while Variety admits that mother! will certainly blow you a way with its over the top story, it laments that there really isn't anything other than that to get excited about, so maybe you don't need to experience it after all.
The movie...is far from a masterpiece. It's more like a dazzlingly skillful machine of virtual reality designed to get nothing but a rise out of you. It's a baroque nightmare that's about nothing but itself.
It shows just how differently people are reacting to a film like this that Variety can look at it and claim that there's nothing under the surface, while Australia's Film Ink, feels quite the opposite, that mother! isn't just a great movie, but one that belongs alongside the works of some of the greatest directors ever.
It's a dense, delirious, playful and serious work of capital A art, and easily the most ambitious film to come out of a major studio since... well, let's just say it: since Kubrick died.
In the end, however, I'm going to have to go with The Playlist for creating the best single sentence review of mother!
If one thing is clear, it's that while we can't predict your opinion of mother! we can say you will certainly have a strong one.The film has weirdness to spare, even if you end up thinking that's all it has. Mother! opens for the rest of us on September 15.