'Mother!': An Underrated Masterpiece


A few weeks ago, I decided to go see Mother! with a few of my friends. We were pretty skeptical going into it knowing the audience reviews were not the best, but we decided to remain open minded regardless. To my surprise, the flick was actually phenomenal, and many people may disagree with me. However, there’s a reason critic reviews are so highly rated compared to audience reviews. 

This film requires a whole different perspective on the plot itself. It requires a deeper level of intelligence and understanding to really translate what is going on. If you didn't understand what occurred the first time around and just thought the whole thing on its own was bizarre, I 100% agree. Viewing the film itself, you don’t really recognize its purpose and there are situations that occur within the movie that many would consider to be cringe-worthy. 

The symbolism of this film was actually very scattered and plenty of it could easily be missed without someone else actually drawing attention to it. It is vital to recognize the passionate symbolism in this film as it is extremely relative to the modern world and the many issues that take place on a daily basis. Here is a short breakdown of the many symbolic figures and situations in Mother! that you may have missed, be mindful because there’s plenty of potential for controversy in this movie:


  1. “Mother” - Mother Nature: One of the most important pieces of symbolism throughout the film is the genius use of Jennifer Lawrence’s unnamed character that we eventually recognize to be the mother of all nature. Throughout the movie, she is very weary about human beings touching her belongings and wanting to essentially take everything that is hers, just like mother nature. We catch throughout the movie that she stays inside the house the whole time, making it known that it is hers and very precious to her. She is constantly caring for this house, or the planet, to keep it alive.            
  2. “Him” - God: The second most important piece of symbolism and one of the most controversial ones is Javier Bardem’s character that we find out to be God himself. In the movie, he struggles to write a “poem” also symbolic of the teachings of bible, and once he does finally create this masterpiece that drives him to tears, human beings worship him for it. They come to his house, craving his attention and wanting to praise his “poem.” He only wants to share his home with them. There is this constant need for him to forgive the humans for their wrongdoings, no matter what they do. This idea ends up upsetting mother throughout the movie and causing quite a chaos in their home.            
  3. Man and Woman - Adam and Eve: Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer are the perfect demonstration of Adam and Eve in the film. Harris’ character shows up to God’s door, wanting to praise him for his poetry (again referring to the teachings of the bible). Both characters clearly demonstrate the desire to always need something from mother nature and God. Throughout their stay at Mother’s home, they help themselves to whatever they want. They begin to represent this idea of the downfall of humanity and the rise of their neediness. The audience begins to recognize that the man and woman are not necessarily kind or unkind, but they take what doesn’t belong to them and constantly blame mother for not sharing her home with them when God is opening “his” home to them without a problem.             
  4. Mother’s Pregnancy - Virgin Mary and Jesus: At one point in the movie, Mother becomes pregnant and it is this miracle child. Him and Mother are delighted to say the least about this incoming child. Unfortunately throughout the pregnancy, Mother notices God becoming more and more praised by humanity which tends to cause everything to go downhill. Once again, humanity begged for what they couldn’t have, in this case, baby Jesus. Everyone wanted a piece of Jesus due to the fact he was part of God and Virgin Mary’s child. He (God) finds it in his heart to want to share the baby with all these people that have come to his house. It is implied what humanity does when we visually see the carcass of baby Jesus, but he (God) still tells Mother that we must forgive them even considering they murdered her child.           

These are just a few of the more significant pieces of symbolism we find in the film Mother!. There is much more of this film to be interpreted and it’s best to keep your mind open when watching these kind of films that may make you feel uncomfortable. YES, the movie is bizarre to say the least. The main purpose of movies like this is to open your eyes to something you may not see clearly enough. 

Walking out of that theater was intense for myself as well as my friends. It was enlightening being able to realize the destruction humanity causes to this planet and how important it is that we pay attention to what we are doing to something that just simply doesn’t belong to us. I could’ve elaborated much further on this masterpiece, but it’s just simply impossible to put the interpretations into words.  

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