The Perfect Family: “MOTHER!” (2017) Review

A young wife works to rebuild her poet husband’s home after a fire. They seem to have a simple but happy enough life. This is disrupted when two strangers show up and set off a chain of events that test the couple, and the wife’s sanity.

I want to start this review by saying that the marketing for Mother is severely misleading. It’s not the horror movie they’re making it out to be. It’s not a Rosemary’s Baby clone, it’s not about a cult or even really so much a home invasion. There may be elements of this but not as much as the trailers give off. What we get is a movie that will still rattle you like crazy. After the film was over I was left shaken and in shock wondering what I just watched. The whole drive home I was thinking about it the whole way home, and even at home I felt like I was in this catatonic state with the after effects of it. Having said all of this I hope I’m not overhyping it, so take these words however you like. What this film is, is one bottle that keeps getting shaken and shaken until finally it just bursts. And as I was watching this movie, I found myself feeling the same way. What’s so crazy about this film is that everything you are feeling as you watch it is represented on screen. The shaken bottle comparison applies to the film itself, but also with Jennifer Lawrence’s character. As the events of the movie progress, we see Lawrence begin to unravel with it, and it’s amazing watching how she shows her character’s change throughout. Everything you’re thinking and feeling, Lawrence is projecting on the screen. And she absolutely nails it. In terms of the story, there’s so much that you can interpret from it and there’s a great amount of symbolism. Everything about it, from the general story, to the cinematography is like a nightmare. It’s like you’re living a nightmare. By the time we get to the final act, the movie just completely goes berserk. Early on you’re thinking “WTF?” but by the end you’re seriously yelling “WTF!?!?!” in your head. It is a pretty bizarre movie and not for everyone. Like I said, this movie is like a nightmare. The craziest things happen in it.

Besides not being a full-on horror movie, the movie is very horrific and not conventional at all. Many will call the movie stupid because there isn’t an extremely clear direction unlike most. This isn’t a flaw at all in my opinion, but modern audiences obviously need direction with their horror, right? This alone with deter many. But what will make people absolutely hate this movie is much of the final act. A lot of horrific stuff happens here including one scene where I knew it was going to go there before it even happened, and it takes it a lot further than I expected. I’m saying this movie will outrage people, make them walk out, demand their money back, and just be furious. But this is also a movie that will stick with you after it’s over for better or worse, and it will definitely make you think about the various interpretations to draw from it. As far as acting, the whole cast is excellent. As I mentioned Jennifer Lawrence is incredible and turns in probably her strongest performance post-Hunger Games. Javier Bardem is does a fine job too with his role and really makes you hate him, but there are times when he screws with your mind and confuses you as much as he does with Lawrence’s character. Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer rock their supporting roles, mostly Pfeiffer. She’s sinister, seductive and enticing, but she also drives you crazy as the unwanted guest. Harris doesn’t get as much to do as Pfeiffer but his presence is still really felt.

Love it or hate it, Mother is movie that will be people talking and will stay with you for a long time. I will say though that if I had any issue with it is that it often feels like its only purpose is to basically crush your soul, but again, there are so many pieces present to put together something to interpret.

–Cody Landman