Even after a solid month of advertising, mother! is still a veritable mystery to its potential audiences. The trailers promise a frightening ride of unbelievable, or dare we say biblical, proportions; and boy, does the film deliver!
With probably the most insane ending of writer/director Darren Aronofsky's career, there's a lot to unpack from the film's chaotic final act, especially when viewed through a Biblical lens. For starters, let's take a look at that ending in depth.
What Happens At The End
In the middle of mother!, Javier Bardem's Him and Jennifer Lawrence's mother have birthed the child they almost magically conceived in the film's second act. However, while Bardem is insistent on Lawrence letting him hold the baby, she doesn't trust him. Through several cycles of day and night, she sits resolutely, not allowing him to hold the baby, but eventually fails. This leads to the baby being passed around the crowd, and eventually killed by having its neck negligently snapped. She eventually notices that the corpse of her baby is on the altar, with pieces of the baby being consumed by all of followers that surround them. It's at this point that she starts to attack the crowd of followers, who in turn attack her savagely.
The final turn comes when mother tries to force Bardem's Him to take action, by throwing those followers out of the house. But rather than punish these followers, our poet says that they should be forgiven. In a fit of rage, she rejects her husband's impulse to forgive everyone, and embarks to destroy the house in a fireball. After a cleansing fire, she questions just who exactly he is. He reinforces the fact that he's a creator. In the end, all Javier Bardem wants is for Jennifer Lawrence to love him, and give him that last thing she has to give... her heart.
Literally removing her heart from her charred chest cavity, Bardem brushes off the ash, and retrieves a gem from her heart that's extremely similar to the one he placed into the holder at the beginning of the film. The house resurrects itself, and sure enough, a new mother is found in bed, starting the film with the same word that began it all, "Baby?" On the surface, this ending is pretty straightforward, but when looking at the biblical implications, there's an even clearer narrative. So to fully understand these implications, let's take a look at the most important characters of mother!, and how they are connected to the ending.
The titular protagonist of mother!, and our frame of reference for the entire film, Jennifer Lawrence's mother is a combination of two figures: Mother Earth, and the Virgin Mary. Darren Aronofsky has laid it on thick about Lawrence playing Mother Earth in the information leading to the film's release. This basically informs the ending's sense that while God can create and forgive, nature is a bit more indiscriminate when it comes to humanity following the rules. As she throws that lighter down into the pool of oil around her feet, Lawrence's Mother avenges her fallen child, and destroys humanity in an apocalypse. Though the Virgin Mary portion of the allegory comes in the form of her almost instantaneous pregnancy with the baby that serves as the Jesus character in our narrative, which makes Javier Bardem's role much clearer.