mother! ★★★½

Never have I been more conflicted on my feelings towards a movie until now. A deeply sadistic, twisted, and disturbing piece of work that only a visionary like Darren Aronofsky can throw onto the screen with no apologies, "Mother!" definitely has moments of bold, artistic genius that offer reasons for me to appreciate it, but it also has moments of indulgent, heavy-handed pretentiousness that prevents me from fully adoring it. For a film loaded with so much metaphorical imagery and allegories, said metaphors just come off so one-note and frustratingly obvious that it doesn't always enrich the experience. I clearly get what the film is trying to say in each hidden theme that's being represented, but I don't feel they stick their landings as much as it believes it does and they're all jumbled together into what is arguably a very aimless, unfocused piece. And it also doesn't help that when the film finally reaches its intense WTF territory, all the film manages to do is hit you over the head throughout with its constant sense of madness but only to a point where it just becomes increasingly overbearing and exhausting. Maybe all this was probably Aronofsky's intention and wanted to score reactions from his audience, and while I do definitely applaud him for taking a risk like that, I don't know if it makes for a cohesive experience while watching. With that being said, when this film succeeds, it definitely has many moments worth talking about. The actors deliver terrific work across the board (Jennifer Lawrence in particular gives arguably her best work since "Silver Linings Playbook"), Aronofsky's direction is bold, assured, and wholly confident, the cinematography is expertly proficient in almost every frame, and I have to at least respect how much the film captures the viewer with its dark, off-kilter sense of tone and atmosphere even when the film reaches its least compelling moments. In the end, I can't decide whether I actually like this movie or not, but the biggest compliment I can give to this movie is that it has still not left my head after watching it. For better or worse, this has definitely got to be one of the most interesting works of cinema I have seen in a long time, and it is at least refreshing to know that there are still films coming out today that will spark many forms of discussion among film lovers.

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