The Sink's Not Braced!: I Can't Stop Talking About 'mother!'

Anyone who has been so unfortunate to be within earshot of me the past week and a half has had to hear my endless, disjointed ramblings about Darren Aronofsky’s latest film (if you can even diminish what it is to such a simplistic term). Of course, I am referring to the controversial opus that is mother! The nauseatically specific and condescending stylization of the title is possibly the most cringe-worthy part of this movie, in which a cavalcade of cringe-worthy things occur.

For those that are unaware of the general plot beats, Jennifer Lawrence (mother. This lower case lettering is mad important to the plot) is married to a man 20-years her senior, Javier Bardem (Him. Again, the case is important). We are supposed to find this problematic, but my own personal life forbids me from passing judgment on such. They live in this big, old farm house that Jennifer is trying to pull an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on by painting the walls a putrid yellow (Frankly, she deserved all that happened to her if she thought that shade was acceptable in any way). Javier Bardem is an immensely successful poet (I mean, I guess?) who is having a long spout of writer’s block. Things then happen.

I saw it on opening night, and immediately as the credits rolled, I audibly stated, “Well, what the f*ck was that?” There was no time for polite language after those precious 2 hours and 1 minute of my life had been spent watching… whatever it is that mother! is. The next thing I said was that it hit too close to home for me in regards to my personal relationship. Not getting into this at all, just had to throw that out into the universe.

After an entire week of screaming at my boyfriend, “The sink’s not braced!” he eventually got so fed up that he dragged me to see it again. I don’t think he’ll ever forgive me. That being said, never in my life has a film stuck with me in such a way and created such a visceral reaction within the very depths of my person.

To make things crystal clear (take a moment to delight in this pun if you’ve seen the film), I low-key hated every minute of this. Every. Single. Minute. All 66 minutes of close-us of JLaw’s face. I would never in a million, gazillion years recommend any sane human of sound mind and body watch this movie. That being said, I think everyone should have to sit through this since I did. Twice. I am never getting back those 4 hours and 2 minutes. Further, I am never getting back the some odd hundreds of hours I have spent, and will spend thinking, discussing, and now writing about this movie that I absolutely loathed.

I need to vent to you, dear reader, as I have vented to every person in my social circle. Warning, a frank discussion of the film lies ahead, so, yeah, spoilers.

If you haven’t seen the film, and are still reading because you don’t care about spoilers, the things you might have heard are true. This movie is bananas. Let’s get into specifics.

  • It’s an allegory! Like Animal Farm! And if you didn’t pick up on that I think less of you as a human being (sorry Jeremy and my own mom)!

In case you missed that day in 10th-grade English, Webster’s dictionary defines an  allegory as: “the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence.” So, yes, this whole movie stands for something else! Javier Bardem is not just an jag-off poet who is obsessed with fame (though, he definitely is this in the literal reading of the film), he’s God! His poetry represents the bible! The entire film is a stand-in for the Book of Genesis. Michelle Pfeiffer is made from Ed Harris’ rib!  The ending represents the apocalyptic fall of humanity that will occur if we don’t stop destroying our planet!

The allegory is two-fold in that sense. It functions as a retelling of Adam and Eve and the Great Flood (That sink isn’t braced yet!), as well as a commentary on the way that humans have been destroying our planet since the Industrial Revolution! This isn’t a regular movie, it’s a cool movie! (Note my artistic use of exclamation points!)

The “mother!” in question is Jennifer’s Mother Earth/Virgin Mary. She is one with the house, as seen in the way she oddly puts her hands up to the walls and we see a beating heart in the walls that slowly dies as the film continues. She walks around the entire movie barefoot in a variety of shockingly flattering painting overalls and boyfriend jeans. This represents her “oneness” with the home.

I kid in the heading above, in regards to thinking people were dumb for not getting the allegory. However, the movie was so overflowing with religious imagery in the Judeo-Christian tradition I find it troubling that people didn’t “get it.”

There are also large, over-arching themes and motifs that are much more literal in regards to the plot: the idea of the artist, his art, and failure to be fufilled by his personal life. The artist, in this sense, is like Angelica Schuyler from Hamilton: they will never be satisfied.  As Jennifer Lawrence’s charred body stated to a freaking flawless Javier, “I gave you everything!” Well, girlfriend, clearly not enough if you had to light your GD house on fire.

  • "Screaming all my lines! Because I’m really intense. And the things I’m feeling are really intense! Because I’m a really intense actor!"

If you really love Jennifer Lawrence’s face, do I have the movie for you! I unfortunately do not, so it was a tedious movie going experience for me. That said, it is insanely obvious that the director is screwing his lead actress when over half the movie is just her face is nauseatingly intimate close-up.

Her performance, for me, is not all that great. She is best when she is playing strong women who are about 50-years-old, so playing a woman her actual age who is tepid and soft-spoken is awful casting. She was best in the second half of the film when she was hysterical and stabbing people with a shard of glass for eating her baby (more on this fun plot development later!).

The real treasure of this film was the vastly underutilized Michelle Pfeiffer (Her character was just named Woman. God, do I hate the pretentiousness of this film. Unnamed characters? What is this?). Where has she been? I was getting so worried for her. The last time I enjoyed a performance of hers this much was in Stardust as a youth-obsessed witch, and that movie came out ten years ago. Anyway, I would’ve preferred to watch 2 hours and 1 minute of Michelle being really passive aggressively awful and making fun of Jennifer’s granny panties, as opposed to having her disappear in the second half of the film. Whatever.

Javier Bardem was fine as the most genuinely awful garbage person to ever exist. It was an odd performance that fit in perfectly with the entire movie. His lack of regard for his wife’s very reasonable concerns was laughable. He literally gave no sh*ts when she was like, “There is literally a refugee camp in our house!” He just kept saying “They love my poem!” That’s another thing. He said his poem sold all of it’s copies in one day. Freaking how?! Who buys books of poetry in 2017? That was ridiculous.

Also, the most important note on the film, not enough Dommy Glees! Domhnall Gleeson is a marvel, and his brief stint in the Cain and Abel bit was weak. Why waste him? 0/4 stars for Domhnall usage.

  • How does Rachel Weisz feel about this?

As I crudely stated before, the director of the film, Darren Aronofsky is currently dating the film’s star, JLaw.Okay.

I am troubled insofar as he wrote the film before he met her, then they met on the set and started dating after that. That concerns me deeply considering she agreed to be romantically involved to a man who created a movie such as this. She gets the living daylights beaten out of her as gendered epithets are screamed at her. She thought it was cool to date a dude who wrote something where that happens to a woman? Namely her? She’s a weirdo, clearly.

One cannot examine the literal plot of the film and not raise an eyebrow in regards to the personal relations going on behind the film. Mr. Aronofsky is an artist dating a woman twenty years his junior. What is the general plot of the film? Hm? I rest my case. I am not saying there is necessarily anything further to read into it beyond circumstance, but it is curious.

  • It was almost over! But then, they ate a baby!

I am, of course, referring to the final 30-minutes of the film where s hit the f.

A recap!

Jennifer is in a long white dress that resembles what’s on the film’s poster, and she’s cooking Javier a fancy dinner for selling all of his poetry books in one day! Sure! I am along for the ride with this!

Then, press shows up, then people start using her bathroom, then taking naps, then waiting in line to sign autographs and getting their meat-hooks all over Javier, then stealing Jennifer’s phone and the cradle for her child and just stuff from all over the house, then there was some sort of shrine to Javier (which, I totally get.) with people being “blessed” on their foreheads with ink, then there was a literal rave, then the police showed up, then Kristin Wiig starting murdering hostages with bags on their heads, then there was a cage of people, then a bomb went off and the firing squad showed up, then there was a refugee camp, then Jennifer went into labour.

Javier delivered her child, and wanted to show him to all the people still living in the house. She was like, “Hell no. Make these people leave. The sink’s not braced yet!” (She didn’t repeat the thing about the sink. It is just my favourite thing about this movie.)

She eventually fell asleep. So, Javier took the baby and showed him to the people Lion King-style before they started crowd-surfing him like Jack Black at the end of School of Rock. Then, they snapped his neck... then ate him. (It’s the body and blood of Christ! #metaphor #deep #cinema) JLaw started stabbing people with glass, then they beat the crap out of her, then she lit the house on fire.

(This next thing is the end! I promise! Not that you should be complaining, I had to sit through the thing twice. I am doing you a favour.)

And then, Javier carried her charred body, took out her heart, crushed it and turned it into a crystal. Then, the entire film “started over” from the beginning with a different woman now waking up where Lawrence did at the start of the film.

Fin.

Now, some scattered commentary, because frankly the above partially sensible paragraphs were acutely painful to crank out.

  • As my boyfriend noted (Even though he didn’t catch the allegory, he is very smart; even I didn’t pick up on this!), why did it take the man nine months to write a poem? He began writing as soon as Jennifer admitted she was with child, and wasn’t done until she was all the almost ready to pop. What the hell was he doing for nine months?
  • They had a great kitchen! I know the sink wasn’t braced, but still.
  • This was the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time. You couldn’t help but laugh as people possessed such blatant disregard for Jennifer. They would go into her bedroom to make out, or walk into her bathroom and shout that they were “just exploring!” During my first showing, the audience was awesome. They were talking and laughing and making appropriately quippy remarks. My second viewing of the film was a much more somber experience, seeing as 5 people got up and left after they ate the baby.
  • They consumed a baby in this movie.
  • Even though I hated it, I will take a million mother!’s over one more insipid Super Thing or Wonder Whatever movie. This movie was creative and certainly unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and at the very least, I respect it.
  • Kristin Wiig shooting a row of hostages at point blank was hysterical and strange. It was almost as uncomfortable/funny as her sex scenes with Jon Hamm in Bridesmaids. (Obligatory Jon Hamm reference. © 2017 Gabrielle Lee Gabauer)
  • I am never going to shut up about this movie.

I hope you enjoyed my unintelligible and ineffectual dissertation. I have to go talk about mother! now.

 

 

 

 

 

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