I have never seen such controversy stem from a movie before.
Right off the bat I will say I think mother! was brilliant. There were many layers to peel back and work through. I think the problem stems from the need to have the standard movies that come out these days - a straightforward action/drama/comedy that does not insight thinking.
Now, I am not in any way saying that that could be the only reason, nor do I think that it was a perfect film. The beginning half was just a little too long and there were some scenes in the second half that I honestly could have lived without seeing.
The allegorical relationship that now exists between the movie and the bible is something to think about as well. There were outright connections to Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and the birth and death of Jesus Christ. There may have been more but having been raised not Christian it may have been lost to me. In the context of the bible and what is presented to everyone right off the bat, the film may indeed be about climate change but I do agree with this article that it is not solely about that. Here Richard Brody writes, "[mother!] is in fact a literal drama of personal relationships in a world of middle-aged artists and younger women, very much like the one in which he has worked for decades." The imbalances in the relationships that are cultivated in this film are astounding and speak volumes to how relationships are made and sustained today.
We know Javier Bardem as "Him," and Jennifer Lawrence as "mother." Bardems's character was vile and cruel, played brilliantly, an interesting representation of God. We see what happens when writings are associated with being "the word of God." Lawrence (who popped a rib and tore her diaphragm during filming) represents Mother Nature, and the hardships she endures are representative of what humans are doing to the Earth by treating it the way we are.
Lawrence's performance was wonderful and it is unlike anything she has done before.
Candice Frederick for VICE writes, "mother! is what happens when the introvert's anonymity is compromised in the most egregious way in their own home, when they're forced to assimilate to something as bizarre and invasive as celebrity despite the fact that it goes against everything that they are. With the story of Mother and Him, Aronofsky confronts the brutality of fame and fandom and the conflict they present in our growing society of individuals whose social reflexes have evaporated and whose self-worth is dependent on external forces. How they react to a social construct not of their making, something we all have had to do at some point in our lives, is what ultimately determines their survival—making a horror like mother! that much more viscerally frightening." Maybe it's because I was hyper aware of the introvert/extrovert relationship while watching the film but that was something that plagued me throughout the film. It's hard being on either side of that coin and I can't imagine not feeling safe in your own home which is supposed to be your safe space.
Vanity Fair does a good job explaining all the small details here.
I think it's interesting that I've seen the three movies creating the most buzz these days - It, American Assassin, and mother! And to be quite honest, mother! was probably the best one of the three. I think It was okay for what it was - the writing could have been so much better to drive the plot (as in any horror movie) but it was not scary by any standard. American Assassin was your typical action movie and since I'm being honest I would have fallen asleep if Dylan O'Brein wasn't doing his thing on screen and my friend wasn't there to keep me awake. mother! was thought provoking and carried a message, it was unique and spoke to something more important than scary clowns or terrorist plots.
Either Darren Aronofsky is smarter than all of us. Or dumber.