Disclaimer: there is an air of mystery to Mother! that means it is advisable to approach the film as blind as possible. Therefore put this review down at the end of the paragraph if this is a film that you really must see. My broad thoughts on the film are that it is really rather dull, Jennifer Lawrence is good but has been much better in other films, and this is a film for Darren Aronofsky completists and, in particular, those whose first thought after Noah (his last film) weren't 'well how did that get made?'
Still with me? Splendid! Here we go.
Sometimes there are films you will only watch once. This can be due to a qualitative issue with the film (do you really need to watch White Chicks multiple times?) or because the viewing experience is such that you really don't want to return to the movie (I admire intensely the likes of Dancer in the Dark and Irreversible but I shan't be watching them again anytime soon). And thus it is with Aronofsky's latest, joining his harrowing masterstroke and X-Factor soundtracking Requiem for a Dream, and I have yet to work out which end of the one-time-only spectrum the film falls on.
There isn't a great deal to the surface narrative here, with a couple (Mother and Him; no names here) whose quiet life is interrupted by a series of guests (Man, Woman, Bumbler, Whisperer etc). Events escalate to a ridiculous final third that will test many an audience member's patience.
Everything is allegorical in Mother!, with each element interpretative. I've read it be called a Rorschach Test for audiences, that they see whatever they wish to see. The problem with such a movie is that it completely lacks surface level necessities such as narrative, character arcs and compelling plot developments with the film wilfully running from them. Nearing the midpoint (and before the film completely loses itself) I broke a cardinal rule and sent a text to my wife simply stating "what... what am I watching?!?" It all has the feel of a bad GCSE Art project, loudly proclaiming what it is trying to say with the delicacy of a foghorn.
The film is barely a horror and its most startling imagery comes too late to impact - it will be met by most with a shrug. There isn't much of a thriller to the film, it lacks the grand conspiracies that propel the likes of Rosemary's Baby and The Wicker Man, which the marketing would have you believe this film is akin to. I suppose it gains some admiration for its singular ability to be indefinable and fit genre parameters, and certainly film studies academia will be discussing this film for a while. That however doesn't make it an enjoyable or even particularly necessary experience. There are more interesting Jennifer Lawrence films and more engaging ones directed by Aronofsky. There is even a better film by the same title, a wonderful South Korean thriller from Joon-ho Bong. So maybe don't take Mother! up on the offer of a dinner date. You'll probably regret it.