It is difficult to define, describe or even slightly talk about what Mother! is, means and does; but in the middle of the confusion, a cult movie was shaped.
With multiple allegories, metaphors and audiovisual resources; Mother! tells the story of a couple that is expecting a baby, with the man being a writer and the woman fulfilling the classic role of a female in a family home. Things go wild (literally) after some unexpected guests come to their home and turn it into a living hell.
(I am avoiding being specific with the details because the less you know the most you enjoy the movie.)
Mother! certainly delivers a complex story, which is essentially where the heart of it is. The fact that this movie can have multiple interpretations and tons of hidden messages, is reason enough to give a big clap to Darren Aronofsky, whose movies have always challenged the human mind of their viewers while dealing with issues that few barely show on screen.
The biggest (and probably most obvious) metaphor in the story is the one related to the Bible, a resource he’s previously used. In this case, the creation and apocalypse are the centerpieces of the plot, reuniting elements like Cain and Abel, and the creation of women.
On the other side, there’s also the fairly evident representation of the hell an artist lives during his/her creation process, the sacrifices and even madness that is developed given the obsession towards the element itself. It even goes as far as to show how fame affects creative people, with the male character being absorbed and drunk by it, while the female character sees her life, private and public, falling apart.
It’s in its confusion in which Mother! works best, because it delivers the complex mind of Aronofsky, along with superb performances by the cast, in a way that is not abusive but reflective and even beautiful to look at with all the purposeful mess.
What might turn you away
The complexity and unconventional storytelling is a deal breaker for many people, for those who can’t stand a Buñuel movie, for example. This is a movie that requires an especial effort in order to watch it because the madness goes as far as to make you lose control of what you feel about it. The little to none superficial explanation of many of the characters’ behaviors, and even the fact that it’s developed inside a single house with the same two characters along with some strangers is reason enough for people to get bored if they don’t manage to get invested and analyze everything they can.
It is not a movie for everyone, that’s a fact. This is a movie made to revolutionize the film history, among filmmakers but not the wide audiences, at least not yet. Darren definitely manages to create a masterpiece in its own genre or space, with a movie that is too complex to understand on a single view, but that definitely won’t be forgotten and will probably turn into a cult-classical movie in the future, if it isn’t already.