Pretty much since we heard about it, writer-director Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! has been shrouded in mystery. And things didn’t get any clearer as promotional materials were released.
The first teaser was pretty much just 30 seconds of sheer, indecipherable madness. Then came the full-length trailer, which was also very confusing. Though, from this we gathered that Jennifer Lawrence’s character (mother) had a bunch of guests in the house she shared with Javier Bardem’s character (Him) — and it was time for those guests to get the eff out.
And that’s pretty much all the Mother! synopsis says too:
Okay, but who are these uninvited guests? And why are they disrupting mother and Him’s tranquil existence? The movie isn’t clear cut by any means, but for people who want to know what this movie is actually about — maybe you love spoilers (AND YES, A LOT OF SPOILERS LIE AHEAD!), or maybe you’re afraid/nervous/curious of what’s in store — here’s what happens in the film.
Mother! centers around the quiet life of mother and Him, a homebody working on renovations and a poet trying to overcome writer’s block, respectively. But their life doesn’t remain quiet for long. Soon, man (Ed Harris) shows up at the couple’s idyllic home. His wife, woman (Michelle Pfeiffer), arrives shortly after that — and trouble ensues from there.
For starters, woman gets on mother’s case about not having kids. Even worse, Him has this prized crystal in his office, and man and woman accidentally break it.
And by breaking the crystal, they catalyze a string of chaos.
Their two sons — younger brother (Brian Gleeson) and Oldest Son (Domhnall Gleeson) — arrive and begin fighting. Ultimately, their fight results in Oldest Son brutally killing younger brother, but that’s just the beginning of shit hitting the fan. Him tells man and woman that they can have a wake at their house, so a bunch of people show up and they, to put it lightly, wreak havoc. Mother eventually demands that they leave, and gets super pissed at Him for letting all these strangers destroy their home.
Then, they have steamy makeup sex and mother gets pregnant. (Woman called it, mother does want a baby.) So, everything is good right?! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. This is only just the beginning.
Inspired by mother’s pregnancy, Him is able to overcome his writer’s block. Months later, mother is far along in that pregnancy. She sets up a nice dinner for the two of them to celebrate his success, but a bunch of fans arrive. Him thrives on the attention, and his ego really only inflates from there.
Soon, people start coming into the house again, but this time it’s like a war zone.
People start looting the house and tearing the house and each other apart. Even Kristen Wiig shows up as a publicist/manager type; she’s there to guide Him through his latest work, but soon spirals into becoming a ruthless killer.
All this is horrifying enough, but then mother goes into labor in the midst of the chaos. She and Him make their way into his super secretive office and she gives birth. Then Him, consumed with the attention, wants to show off the baby and mother won’t let him. When she falls asleep for a moment, Him takes the baby out to the crowd. They all fight over the baby and soon — I’m sorry for this — snap the baby’s neck and kill it.
Mother, naturally, loses it. She attacks the crowd, so they attack her — and it’s awful to watch. Him breaks it up, and mother eventually makes her way downstairs where she’s able to set the place on fire. After a massive explosion, we see Him carrying a burnt mother to the office. She offers Him her heart and he puts it in its proper place, allowing the house to return back to normal. Well, almost.
The house is back up and running, and we see mother rise from her bed — just like she did at the beginning of the movie. And this mother looks a whole lot like J.Law, but a bizarro version. So we realize that the crystal that man and woman shattered was either the heart of J.Law’s mother, and that we saw her in the flames in flashback at the beginning of the film. Or the mother featured in those flames was the version that came before J. Law.
TL; DR: Mother gives the house life, and humanity destroys everything.
Still with me? There’s a lot to take away from Mother! and needless to say, it’s open to interpretation. But it certainly creates interesting conversation surrounding God and creation, and other Biblical stories; the environment, and how we need to protect *Mother* Earth; the ego of humanity and the ego of the artist; feminism and the way men see women, and much, much more.
I don’t think there’s a right way to understand the film. I don’t think it’s about any one thing. But, if you really need some answers (and not just theories), here’s what the Aronofsky himself told Collider about his narrative intentions.
So while we knew Mother! was heavy on its Biblical elements while watching, now we know that that was sort of the point, if you will. And now you know what to keep a close eye out for, if/when you watch the film — now in theaters.