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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:08 pm 
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The Bunuel influence I can see. I saw some of 8 1/2 in it as well in terms of the use of close-ups and limited focus.

I liked this film a great deal, particularly with its insistence on presenting Lawrence's perspective and rarely giving the viewer any breathing room. While I look forward to watching this at home, this marks one of the most memorable theater-going experiences of my life. So rarely have I gone into a film with no expectations - not because of poor reviews, but instead because I read nothing on the film beforehand - and left feeling like I was on the edge of my seat till the end. A truly unpredictable film is a difficult one to make, especially one like this that eschews conventional narrative for something instead influenced by raw emotion - confusion, frustration, anger. The lack of narrative accelerates these feelings as the viewer is forced to confront the events with the same sense of uncertainty and annoyance as Lawrence. Characters act disrespectful and elusive, Lawrence is treated as a hindrance to their unknown motivations and her attempts to understand only exacerbate them. Everything crescendos into this display of violence and madness, where lives are snuffed out without reason and the setting decays into a state of disrepair. I'd put this on par with some of cinema's greatest feats of absurdity, from the Bunuel referenced to the best of the Czech New Wave. This is the best cinematic expression of pure frustration that I've seen.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:54 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:28 pm
I love the fact that this film has caused such diverse reactions.

For me this is by far Aronofsky's best film. It is actually about something, namely female subjugation to male "artistic" aspirations. Oh yeah and some biblical whatever that I don't care about. But a movie with two thematic threads beats those with one to zero.

I do have various reservations. Jennifer Lawrence is overrated and has made many terrible choices as an actress. Horrible in that mop film and the Chris Pratt film. I mean just awful beyond belief. Bardem blows her off the screen without effort. But in a way I guess that works for the film.

When the film went into fantasy realm, namely the last half hour or so, I disengaged. But the first hour or so are brilliant.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:25 am 
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While I still prefer "Requiem for a Dream," "The Fountain," and "Black Swan" (which still may be my favorite film of this decade so far) over this, Aronofsky's highly visceral filmmaking remains a welcome addition to an increasingly unadventurous American cinematic landscape. Hopefully the mainstream backlash doesn't affect the cinematic release of his next film.

I disagree about Lawrence making terrible choices as an actress. Apart from the "Hunger Games" and "X-Men" movies, I think she's made considerably bolder decisions than most A-list actresses -- especially considering she's not even 30 yet. She could've easily gone down the 'shitty romcom' road like Julia Roberts and Reese Witherspoon before her, but she hasn't. The fact that she's seemingly become a muse for a major filmmaker like David O. Russell has also certainly helped her cause.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:49 am 

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Much of what Lawrence does in this film is put on a "WTF is going on" face. (I would too, if I were her, but still.) Bardem owns this film; he is the lead character. The sound design is the second lead. Lawrence's role is rather thankless, because it is totally reactive. She does look good throughout.

Just acting in a David O Russell film doesn't make you great, if the film is about a mop and sucks. And she diluted her credibility by doing that stupid Chris Pratt film. Yep, she's grabbed for the Hollywood $$$ like everyone else. Oh, and she was excellent in Hunger Games. It remains to be seen whether she can develop real credibility ala Kristen Stewart.

I did see this film for a second time today and feel more strongly that the second act is problematic, boring and ridiculous. It states, or depicts, the film's themes in a very obvious way--themes that already were there in the first half.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:56 am 
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I will not abide all of this Joy hate.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:35 am 
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I guess the take home lesson from MOTHER! is that if Refn wanted THE NEON DEMON taken seriously he should have used more beige.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:51 pm 
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I loved this, and I feel like going into it with the intent of hunting for allegories is the wrong way because it functions much better as a comedy of menace piece in the vein of The Birthday Party. The biblical functions are there but this is really a film about control, much like The Trial, Funny Games, or just about any episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Aronofsky's use of Kristen Wiig is brilliant.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:10 am 
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Magic Hate Ball wrote:
I loved this, and I feel like going into it with the intent of hunting for allegories is the wrong way because it functions much better as a comedy of menace piece in the vein of The Birthday Party. The biblical functions are there but this is really a film about control, much like The Trial, Funny Games, or just about any episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Aronofsky's use of Kristen Wiig is brilliant.

I didn't go hunting for allegories; the allegories came hunting for me!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:42 am 
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Martin Scorsese on Rotten Tomatoes, Box Office Obsession and Why 'Mother!' Was Misjudged


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:49 pm 

Joined: Tue May 28, 2013 1:43 pm
Watched Bergman's Hour of the Wolf a few days ago as part of my annual horror marathon in October and my wife and I both agreed that there were strong parallels between the two. In fact, I see more of Hour of the Wolf than Rosemary's Baby in mother!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:34 pm 
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Funny, when I got out one of the first movies I thought of was Bergman's Shame. It, Wolf, and Passion of Anna all have threads linking it to mother!, for sure.

All the Best People wrote:
I didn't go hunting for allegories; the allegories came hunting for me!

Haha true, I'm talking more about the people I've talked to who said they heard it was a biblical allegory and were disappointed by how thudding the allegorical aspects were.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:41 pm 
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FWIW, MoMA is holding a public screening of this on Sunday, November 19, at 2:30pm and Aronofsky will be there to do a Q&A.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:36 pm 
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hearthesilence wrote:
FWIW, MoMA is holding a public screening of this on Sunday, November 19, at 2:30pm and Aronofsky will be there to do a Q&A.

I went to this and liked the film, quite a bit actually. I didn't read too much about mother!, but it was hard to avoid the headlines or one-line summaries that get flashed everywhere on social media. Having seen it, I wonder if the media coverage was just incredibly shitty, because there was nothing that complicated about this movie outside of the technical execution that made it pretty damn impressive. I'm not a huge fan of his films, and I'm usually not thrilled with allegories, but I was won over by Aronofsky going for broke and (at least for me) not toppling the whole thing with his ambition. This got over on style alone, and at least for this film, that was enough for me.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:48 pm 
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FrauBlucher wrote:
I saw this last night, followed by an Aronofsky Q&A. David O. Russell was the moderator. Russell gushed about the film for 10 minutes before he asked the first question. He called it a great film and Aronosfsky's best.

A few points Aronofsky stressed about the film...
- It's his most personal film. He was the Jennifer Lawrence character when writing it, which comes from rage, anger and sadness with what's going on.
- Man versus Mother! earth.
- Yes, there are biblical metaphors and connections to the story.
- Luis Bunuel's The Exterminating Angel was partly an inspiration for this. Not so much for Polanski.

He mentioned this at the Q&A yesterday too. He basically said he turned to the Bible when he was trying to think of a plot to serve as the narrative framework for the film. (Just to be clear, when I say turned to the Bible, I don't mean he prayed for divine inspiration, I mean he turned to the Bible the way, say, Gus Van Sant turned to Henry IV to tell parts of My Own Private Idaho.) It appealed to him mostly for its function as modern mythology, the way most people are also familiar with Greek or Roman mythology. As an example, he cited Icarus - everyone knows that story, and no one debates over "how high did he actually go?," etc., because people generally understand that's not the point.

The Exterminating Angel was also mentioned, and he said Mike Myers of SNL fame approached him after a screening and said it was like a Marx brothers movie. That made him laugh because he realized Myers was probably right - when he was writing/developing the film, he was watching a lot of Marx brothers films, and in a way the tone is lifted from those movies, particularly the destruction of the house.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:39 am 
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J Adams wrote:
Much of what Lawrence does in this film is put on a "WTF is going on" face. (I would too, if I were her, but still.) Bardem owns this film; he is the lead character. The sound design is the second lead. Lawrence's role is rather thankless, because it is totally reactive. She does look good throughout.


Though the only auteur in this movie is Lawrence's eyebrows.

Once you notice how counter intuitively plucked and shaped those are you'll see nothing else for the rest of movie.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:59 am 
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I‘m late to the party. Didn’t rush to see this as I’m neither a huge fan of Aronofsky nor of Lars Von Trier-style provocations an the nature of womenhood. And yet I loved mother! for its film-making and for its commitment to its own crazy. Yes, its allegory is clunkingly obvious, but often there is nothing subtle about baring your soul.

I was much less irritated by this, than say, Von Trier‘s Dancer in the Dark or Antichchrist. While the film‘s plot isn‘t complex, its genuinely unpredictable and beautifully made. Von Triers attempt at stirring emotions strike me as cynical. mother! retained a sense of abstraction which made it more emotionally remote and which made its final excesses symbolic rather than viscerally upsetting. Uötimately the film isn’t about a women or the nature of women, it’s very much about man and by extension the type of god/s man has created, the type who has a fragile ego and demands constant adulation. In the way the film embraces excess, I found it darkly humorous. For me it struck the same note of absurdist, allegorical horror as Polanski‘s The Tenant or Zulawski‘s Possession, it just casts its net wider.

Thematically I thought it was closer to 8 1/2 than the frequently cited The Exterminating Angel (though there a narrative similarities) or even more like Woody Allen‘s distillation of Fellini, Stardust Memories which also turned the circus around an artist into a malevolent horde. But mother! lacks Allen‘s contempt and self-pity, with Him clearly being the enabling villain of the piece.

After hating every previous film by Aronofsky, I liked The Wrestler and Black Swan but this is the film of his I enjoyed by far the most. Black Swan now looks like a stepping-stone, still a relatively conventional horror film, with moments of baroque excess. But I never felt it went quite far enough. I had no such complaints after this.


Last edited by Lost Highway on Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 2:16 pm 
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Ionesco is another good comparison point - it's kind of like a hysterical inverse of The New Tenant.

edit: see also The Lesson


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:24 pm 
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Magic Hate Ball wrote:
Ionesco is another good comparison point - it's kind of like a hysterical inverse of The New Tenant.

edit: see also The Lesson

True and I’m a huge Ionesco fan, which may be one reason why I loved this.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:13 pm 
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Marc Maron interviewed Darren Aronofsky on his podcast today and it's a huge fucking trainwreck in my estimation. First off, his cat is missing so he keeps interrupting the interview because he thinks he hears the cat. Which is bizarre to begin with. But he also tells Aronofsky that he hasn't watched all of mother! (to the end, in other words) and at one point says "let's just skip over the two I haven't seen" (re: The Fountain and Noah, which, who can blame him, but still).

But to top it all off, at the end of the interview Maron dismissively says "Is there anything I can do for you?" as a way of concluding things, and Aronofsky says something along the lines of "I'll tell you what - you could finish mother! and then talk about what you thought at the end of the podcast so I can hear it when I listen to it." and then the interview ends, and Maron comes on (in present day) saying "You know what, I haven't watched it yet!" Really bizarre and the only word I can describe it with is "rude." Maron's usually got a little bit of an edge to him but this was one of the most inappropriately dismissive interviews I've ever heard in any format and Aronofsky didn't deserve to be treated that way.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:50 pm 
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That's quite strange since Maron has had some excellent interviews with directors, and he seems extremely knowledgeable about film in general. Maybe just an off-day for him, especially considering the whole thing with the cat.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:02 pm 

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The Fountain also deserved to be treated better. On a different matter I'm quite pleased to see Mother on many year end lists


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:16 pm 
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There are two ways of going about it - you either talk to someone about their life and sort of objectively let them discuss their films in a way that doesn't involve the interviewer as a participant (in the event that you didn't see some or all of them), or you do your research and aren't dismissive or rude about their work and how much of it you either haven't seen or haven't "finished." He did neither of these things.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:46 pm 

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I’m kind of surprised that even with Lawrence, once of the biggest movie stars in the world, a major studio greenlit a film so utterly idiosyncratic and bizarre.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:48 pm 
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I loved this. Lots of compelling defenses and arguments in this thread and elsewhere, but ultimately the metaphors run a distant second to the immediate visceral impact of the film. Not since AntiChrist have I sat through a film that possessed the grim and inescapable forward momentum of a nightmare. The entire film is one of frustration and building menace, and anyone who's read my collected works in the Horror List Project knows I've sat through countless films that miserably fail in their attempt at this kind of fast and loose play with reality. A film like this is incredibly hard to make, and I think Aronofsky is entitled to a big head for pulling it off. Fundamentally this is one of the most stressful movie-watching experiences I've ever had, with brilliantly meted dream logic and social cue-exploiting anxiety. I was sick to my stomach for most of the film, and glad for it.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:29 pm 
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Domino, I couldn't agree more on the frustration, stress, anxiety and I'll throw in anger at watching this film and I was glad when it ended so my nervous system could return to a somewhat normal state. Once that happened I realized what a unique and engrossing film I had just witnessed. With the idea of returning to it sooner rather than later, it'll be interesting to see how I respond to the second viewing. Mr Aronofsky has made his masterwork imho.


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