Why Mother (2017) Hated Allegory Pushed The Cinematic Boundaries For Me

*This article contains spoilers*

Darren Aronofsky‘s latest film is not an easy film to watch. The film is hated by the critics and audience in general and it took me two days to finished it, because I don’t want to exhaust myself.

The film’s allegory has created controversy, albeit that the film’s being marketed as a psychological horror. Why? Because the film shows a graphic content of presumably baby Jesus getting his neck snap and his flesh eaten and blood drank by his believers. Too soon? Okay, let me rephrase.

mother! is a film about a husband and wife whose lives got interrupted by a stranger. The film begins as a thriller: it made you uncomfortable and uneasy. You root for the main character, Mother, and hated the others who for some reason treat her like trash. But comes act two, the film’s religious allegory becomes more visible and it’s hard not to see it from that point of view.

Mother refers to Mother Earth who is married to God, the Creator. Darren and Jennifer Lawrence have both stated the film tries to tackle environmental issue that depicts humans misbehaviour to our beloved Earth; treating Her and our home as trash and are responsible for all the damages. This is clearly shown when Mother asked a random man in the film on why did he barged into Her house. The young man chuckled and asked her back, “your house?”. The false belonging that mankind have on earth is a serious issue that will make you wonder, ‘Are we just intruder or real resident on earth’. When you watch dozens of strangers barged into Mother’s house it will surely make you feel sorry for her and questioned their selfish behaviours. Are we really that bad? We are responsible for the future of this planet you know.

Environmental issue aside, mother! has another allegory: religion. If you want to make a film about Mother Earth, you can do it without involving God, I think. But, actor Javier Bardem is definitely God himself as revealed in the last scene, “I am I,” he said as he carried the burned and broken Mother and take her “love” out of her belly in form of crystal.

His character boasts assurance, pride and machismo. He is self-assured to take random strangers inside his house without consulting his wife. He is also quick to forgive his creations after they killed his baby boy aka Jesus. But, this is what I liked about the film. Him who is God is portrayed as a regular man who needs to satisfy his own ego by writing a “book” that made him beloved by thousands. He loved their adoration and constant admiration, albeit knowing that His creations are far from perfect when not “controlled” they become wild and selfish creatures.

I have heard that many walked out of the cinema in the midst of watching mother! and I don’t blamed them. The film’s experience is not for everyone. The film is far from perfect, but as a piece of art, mother! challenged and pushed its audience to question the notion about their Creator. That is an audacity that I admired because I firmly believed art is a form of creative self-expression.

For me, mother! pushed the cinematic boundaries that usually played it too safe or didn’t literally “go there”. Darren could easily make a film about Mother Earth and leave God and the biblical reference behind. But, he cleverly input it in this film – for what? Perhaps he’s trying to make a sensation or to feed his ego by proving that he can create a film that will make people talk (and you sure will!). Whatever his reasons are, I applaud Darren for creating mother! – the film is bold, weird, crazy and just surreal on every level. Like I said, art is a form of self-expression and if this is Darren’s way of expressing his frustration, I bet there are many out there who can relate at this time and age. Can God be as egoistic as his creations? We are His spitting image as once written.

If you are looking for answers to the question above then there is none here. But if you are seeking for a different kind of movie experience then by all means, you will enjoyed mother!

Read also: Donnie Darko (2001) Movie Review & Shame (2011) Movie Review

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