Out of all the movies that have come out in the last year, few were as polarizing as Darren Aronofsky’s Mother!, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem. After it came out in September of 2017, the highly symbolic movie left people guessing what it all meant. Finally, Aronofsky has revealed what Mother! is actually about.
The director explained the meaning of Mother! in his SXSW keynote address on Saturday, March 10th. “I wanted to make a film about Mother Earth and how we treat Mother Earth,” Aronofsky said. Because of that inclination, he appointed Lawrence’s character as a symbol for Mother Earth. Many people had already suspected this after Aronofsky implied it in the past, but nobody knew for sure.
Since the film takes so many shocking twists, including a person getting beaten to death by a doorknob — and much worse — it seemed like there was more going on. And there was. According to Aronofsky, Javier Bardem’s character Him represents God, and all of those biblical allusions in the film were in fact intended to make you feel like you were in church at times.
“I looked at the Bible and how the Old Testament God is painted,” Aronofsky continued. “When you think about that God, if you don’t pray to him, he kills you. What type of character does that? For me, it was about interpreting that to human emotion.”
So there you have it. Aronofsky paired his interpretation of a merciless God with a nurturing Mother Earth, and what we got was a movie about a violent destruction of a home and a woman when a barrage of uninvited guests show up to wreak havoc.
If all of the violence in Mother! seemed over the top, that’s because Aronofsky wanted to critique people’s treatment of our planet.
The thing is, that when people call Mother Earth dirt, that’s because “she” literally is dirt. To use a woman like Lawrence’s character as a personification of that being makes Mother! pretty disturbing to watch.
A lot of people kind of hated Mother! because it didn’t really make a lot of sense.
Plus, as mentioned before, everything that happens to Lawrence’s character — and it’s a lot — is disturbing.
Basically, the story of the Old Testament plays out in a woman and man’s house while the woman is pregnant. In the end, the man — who represents God, as Aronofsky pointed out — rebuilds his home after its destruction. If that was Aronofsky’s way of warning people about climate change, then it’s no wonder that some people don’t believe in it.
Even if Mother! left people more confused than enlightened about God and Mother Earth, it has still managed to entertain the masses. Now that you have the answers about the film’s meaning, you might even want to give it a re-watch.