Author Topic: mother!  (Read 3295 times)

oldkid

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Re: mother!
« Reply #60 on: October 05, 2017, 01:10:56 PM »
Now that that's cleared up, you are all wrong and stupid.  ;)

Actually, you are all right, in that I think that mother! is complex and is playing with multiple metaphors at a time, trying (sometimes unsuccessfully) to keep a number of balls in the air.

We have the world metaphor in which mother restores the world after the last destruction and it is taken apart by pieces before her.

We have the Artist backdrop which shows his unintentional abuse of his wife because he's so focused on making Change.

We have the big-picture-of-the-Bible metaphor which has  dying Adam, Eve with her "fruit" (lemons, not apples), Cain and Abel, sin, covetousness, Scripture, a God trying to tell everyone to be nice to each other, mark of Cain, religiosity, Jesus, sacrifice, adoration, with everyone ignoring the context around them.

We have Bardem representing, in turns, a husband, God, an artist, an idealist, an abuser, a priest, a mediator, a shaman, a repentant recluse and more.

There are so many interesting details, often coming from themes Aronofsky covered in other films.  The schizophrenic nature of the artist (Black Swan), using color to cover up pain (Requiem), obsession (all of them).  Not everything fits neatly into a single overall metaphor, there are a lot of details that I think we can spend years drawing out.  I love the dream-like structure, the playing around with time, the blood disappearing and reappearing, the fact that the house both has an oil heater and a wood stove and multiple hearts.  So much to think about.

But all of the details miss the main point, in my opinion.  The central focus is the point of view.  The film is constantly going back and forth between what Lawrence sees and how she responds.  She is supposed to lend us her emotions, her perspective. Lots happens, lots of people come and go, lots of right and wrong, but the point is that we are to be seeing it all through the eyes of a mother, a nurturer.   Unlike Bardem, who is focused on his work and is overjoyed by anyone who appreciates his work, past or present, Lawrence wants to create a context in which love can flourish.  She wants to protect their relationship, create a "setting" in which intimacy and care can grow. 

Think of how the events would look from Bardem's point of view.  Frustration and relief of being able to create, a wife who is stifling him, people who are part of the process of inspiration, conception as being the eye-opening event of his life, the welcoming of adoration and how that turns bad with him being the inspiration of all sorts of evil until everything is destroyed and he has the opportunity to begin again founded on his dead wife's love.

But that's the story we always hear, the story of the artist, of the Creator, of the wide-eyed wonder of the inspired.

This story is told from the point of view of the Nurturer, the nest-builder, the consort.  In ancient myth, creation was always accomplished by Heaven (male) and Earth (female).  An alternative Yahwist religion is hinted at in the Bible in which God had a consort called Asherah.  In Proverbs, the female Wisdom assisted God in the creation and sustaining of the world.

Wisdom in Proverbs continually calls out to humanity, telling them to pay attention to her:
"I, Wisdom, dwell with prudence,
    and useful knowledge I have.
Pride, arrogance, the evil way,
    and the perverse mouth I hate.
Mine are counsel and advice;
    Mine is strength; I am understanding."

Even so, mother! is calling us to re-examine all of humanity from the perspective of female Wisdom, of learning to nurture, to love, to restore.  To set aside covetousness-- the desire and demand of what does not belong to you-- and pride-- the taking of authority that was never given, especially when one harms "lesser" people on the way there. 

Like Jesus, this film is calling one to look at the way of the nurturer and to see it as the true path.  But it also recognizes that the path of the nurturer is the path of self-sacrifice.  The Creator changes by inspiration and making new things; the Nurturer changes by self-sacrificial love.  And you cannot have one without the other.  But people often overlook the Nurturer and the sacrifice as unnecessary idiocy, not realizing that it is the real story.
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Josh

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Re: mother!
« Reply #61 on: October 06, 2017, 12:48:04 PM »
The central focus is the point of view.

I like this reading, the only catch is it requires ignoring the film's bookends, which are explicitly from Bardem's POV. Here is where my reservations lie with mother!, as much as I enjoyed it. The movie isn't willing to fully commit to its "feminine" perspective.

DarkeningHumour

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Re: mother!
« Reply #62 on: October 06, 2017, 01:13:25 PM »
I thought the crystal Even breaks was the Apple. It is after breaking it that the couple is expelled from the upstairs office, ie. Eden.
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oldkid

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Re: mother!
« Reply #63 on: October 06, 2017, 08:52:40 PM »
I thought the crystal Even breaks was the Apple. It is after breaking it that the couple is expelled from the upstairs office, ie. Eden.

Good reading.
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1SO

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Re: mother!
« Reply #64 on: October 08, 2017, 11:52:50 PM »
Seen it!

Coming off of its current reputation and my knowledge of Aronofsky's work, I didn't have too strong a reaction one way or the other. I was more divisive within myself over moments where the director starts to lose the film in the chaos. It first happened when the two sons entered. Up to there I could still believe what was happening without having to take it as allegory, but when one son kills the other that went bye bye. The next leap was at the wake and that damn couple who wouldn't stay off the counter. By the time Kristen Wiig is executing people you're either with it or you're not, and that's before the crack of the neck, which is where I imagine most people say "that's enough", though Aronofsky hammers that horror in deeper seconds later.

In the end, I'm left with one lingering question. Was that Rachel Weisz in the opening shot, or at least a digital creation that's meant to deliberately look like Rachel Weisz? That opening, reflected by the ending negates any objection Aronofsky might have about people relating the film to his past and current (and future?) relationship.
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: mother!
« Reply #65 on: October 09, 2017, 04:12:14 AM »
What was the opening shot? The first time I remember seeing a woman is when Lawrence gets recreated.
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Teproc

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Re: mother!
« Reply #66 on: October 09, 2017, 04:23:28 AM »
What was the opening shot? The first time I remember seeing a woman is when Lawrence gets recreated.

We see the face of a woman (whom I assumed to be Lawrence but it appears I was wrong) in a fire, a shot which is repeated towards the end, with yet another actress... I think, I'm terrible with faces, so that whole thing flew over my head I thought it was Lawrence with some wonky CGI making her look weird both times.
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: mother!
« Reply #67 on: October 09, 2017, 04:32:08 AM »
Yeah, I thought it was Lawrence too.
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1SO

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Re: mother!
« Reply #68 on: October 09, 2017, 10:04:53 AM »
Had to do some digging. Looks like somebody took this with their phone, but here...



That looks like Rachel Weisz. I see no resemblance to Jenifer Lawrence


Also, when Ed Harris is throwing up, Javier Bardem covers and injury on Harris' back. Is that meant to be where the rib was taken to create Eve (Michelle Pfeiffer)?
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Sandy

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Re: mother!
« Reply #69 on: October 09, 2017, 10:17:31 AM »
I read that it was Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse. She's credited as "foremother."

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