please tell me what you thought!! I'm not worried about spoilers, i already know what happened, i'm gonna see it in a few days and i'm so psyched! tell me all your thoughts please!!!
I am so charged up about this movie I don’t even know where to fucking start!!! I guess I’ll start with my initial Twitter rant bc GODDDAAAAMMMMNNNN!
Here’s some non-spoilery things about the movie for those who don’t want to be spoiled:
- Mother! is a horror movie for every woman whose pain was ever used & romanticized to further a man’s personal growth.
- Mother! is a horror movie for women who have invested and fallen in love with a selfish man.
- Mother! is a horror movie for women who feel the constant suffocating entitlement of the patriarchy.
- Mother! is a horror movie for women who feel they’ve been constantly taken advantage of and are demonized for daring to speak up about it.
- Mother! is a horror movie version of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. (And I said this BEFORE I saw this tweet by the director 😍)
- Mother! is a horror movie for any woman who was only valued as a cure for a man’s pain instead of valued as a full, human person.
- Mother! is a horror movie for women who were treated like IRL manic pixie dream girls and then tossed aside like garbage.
Also I found it able to tap into horrors of being a woman that were subtle and specific in a slightly Get Out kind of way, imho. I felt very understood in many ways even as I was being horrified by what I was seeing.
Below are some spoilery things:
The movie opens with a woman burning, a tear falling down her face, and then her turning to ash. Javier Bardem sets a gem stone on a stand and then a beautiful home surrounded by nature appears out of the ashes. I knew as soon as Javier Bardem’s character sat that gem on the mantel and the scene turned to Jennifer Lawrence appearing out of the ashes in bed that that is where the movie would end, and it would end with another girl in her place.
AND IT DID. For a bit there at the end, I was wondering where it was headed because of the chaos, and I nearly forgot about the gem itself, but then we ended right where I expected. What I didn’t forsee was what the gem was made of: it was the last thing that Bardem’s character could squeeze out of his previous lover before she turned to ash, something beautiful that he could put on display before he started it all over again with someone new.
This movie is about a woman who gives all of herself (physically, literally, spiritually, emotionally, horrifically) to a man because she loves him, because it is expected, because she thinks he will view it as love, and it is never enough. He never stops taking from her, not even when there are literal mobs in their home tearing the physical house apart, stealing their belongings. At one point an actual war spills into their house and she barely escapes with the life of herself and the child she is about to give birth to. When she begs her husband to send these people away, he refuses because they stroke his ego.
I don’t think the chaos of the previous 10 minutes of the film before she asks this question nor her struggle through them were literal but rather a representation of how it feels to be in her position, where she’s tried everything to be enough for this man for as long as she has been with him, rebuilt his house by hand, made it a home, served all his guests and fans without complaint, and even carried his child. She finally started believing with her pregnancy that she was going to win him over and be with just him, that this would be the key to finally meeting that standard of enough, but that was never who he was ever going to be for her, even as a father. And when she realizes, at 8 months pregnant, that his true love is still himself, his writing, and his fans, despite his child growing in her womb, she felt her world slip. The insanity of the the wars, the executions, the mobs in the house weren’t real but that’s how it felt. Her world was crumbling and she’d never regain any control again.
In the end he even invites his fans to hold their baby and the baby ends up dying. It’s horrific and disgusting, and what does he say to her? He tells her that it can be something beautiful and encourages her to forgive, that there is nothing more beautiful than forgiveness, so they must. As if she doesn’t have rights to feeling ugliness in the face of losing her child. I felt suffocated myself by this immediately invalidation of even the most understandable and vulnerable of feelings.
There are other moments like this throughout the movie where Jennifer Lawrence’s character is trying to speak up and voice her needs but it’s like shouting into a pillow as she asks politely and reasonably. No one listens or seems to care, especially not her husband. He seems to only placate her lovingly when he can tell she needs to feel he’s heard her, but he never really does or cares to try to actually listen to her. This last time, when she is weeping about her son being murdered by the people he allowed into their house, is the last straw and she calls the people around her what they are: MURDERERS. And because she finally yells and screams at them, they beat the everloving shit out of her and call her names like whore and bitch and cunt, etc etc.
So she makes her way down to the furnace and burns the fucker down. GIRL YES BURN THAT BITCH TO THE GROUND.
And yet after the explosion that incinerates it all, guess who is intact and who is charred to the bone. Javier Barden, completely complete, carries Jennifer Lawrence, a burned, scaley version of herself, through the rubble of the house. She can’t understand how he is able to do this when she and everything she built is destroyed.
She asks, “What are you?”
He replies, “I am life.”
She asks, ”What am I?”
He replies, “You are home.”
You don’t have to be sexualized to still be objectified and if this isn’t exactly the damaging dynamic in so many male/female relationships, I don’t know what is. He is what life is and she is where he gets to live. Does she have her own life, her own plans, her own goals, her own space? It doesn’t matter, she exists to house him.
She asks, “Where are you taking me?”
He replies, “To the beginning.”
He lays her on the charred bed and tells her there is one more thing he needs from her. She says she has nothing left to give. He says that isn’t true, he wants her love. She relents. “Take it.” He digs physically into her abdomen and pulls something bloody and charred out. Jennifer Lawrence’s character turns to ash and the mess in Javier Bardem’s character’s hands turns into a gem. He marvels at how beautiful a thing it is, the only thing left of his lover. He doesn’t grieve that she is nothing but a pile of ash now, he sets the gem up where the old one once sat and the opening scene repeats with a new girl waking in their bed, signifying that this is what this man does to women and what he will continue to do. He doesn’t learn his lesson or change because he doesn’t value the women he is with enough to see their pain as destruction. Instead, he only sees it for how it can benefit him.
She is ash. He is whole. A parasite going from woman to woman.
To me, one of the scariest elements of this movie is that Javier Bardem’s character himself isn’t really that scary, he’s not a horror. He’s even sweet sometimes, albeit neglectful af. What’s smart and unfortunately really relatbale about this is it makes him seem like (if not a good guy at least) an okay guy. He’s not evil. She doesn’t befall this horrible fate because he is malicious. It’s a Nice Guy who just wants to Create something Beautiful. But in the process he fucking destroys and sucks the entire life out of the woman he is supposed to love with no remorse at all. There are so many fucking men out there who do this very thing to every woman they are with, emotionally and mentally. Sometimes physically, too, but that’s easier to pinpoint. The horror of Javier Bardem in Mother! is that he could be and really kind of is many of the men we will come in contact with.
(Bro I know I’ve fallen in love with and had this done to me by one ALREADY)
My thoughts on how this movie has been received:
What blows my MIND is that large groups of people DO NOT GET this movie and I think it’s because it is largely and almost exclusively a fundamental female experience. There are whole hot takes and think pieces trying to figure out HMMM WHAT IS THIS MOVIE ABOUT???? when like…to me, it was obvious and direct in my opinion. I’m not trying to be a bitch about it, like I’m smarter than everyone. I understand that I get it because it’s for me, it’s about a female perspective, but to say it’s about nothing is ASININE. Which many of them are saying.
If you don’t like the way this movie told its story, that’s fine and fair. We all have different tastes. But if you don’t get the message and therefore want to criticize what it’s trying to say because you think it was pointless, maybe THINK AGAIN. It didn’t fail because you PERSONALLY don’t get it. It maybe just means that there are other experiences in this world and you’re lucky enough to have never had to understand what this movie is saying, the feelings it evokes in many viewers, or the horrors it represents for them. And most likely never will. If the movie is just not for you I GET THAT bc damn it was rough, IT WAS HARD, it was awful. But it wasn’t about nothing. If you didn’t see the point, be thankful.
There were some think pieces analyzing it and coming to the conclusion that it was about global warming and the Catholic church, which there was definitely some imagery for but that for SURE was not the POINT. If you thought Mother! was just about taking on the Catholic Church while identifying the other ‘weird’ stuff in it as just ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ you MAY be ignoring the literal title character of the movie & her entire emotional journey throughout the whole thing.
Which, SHOCKER, is like… the point of the entire movie.
Good job I GUESS. But you still missed point by proving it.
I mean, I get it, make it about whatever resonates with you, but it is undeniably about a fundamentally female experience.
No wonder it’s being overlooked. "Gee what could this movie entitled ‘Mother!’ be about? Should we look at the mother character in the movie?? OR HOW ABOUT we just dive into the symbolism surrounding the woman instead while ignoring her completely.“ 👍🏻
To me it seemed any side-symbolism in that movie was to promote the dynamic of her giving all she was & him feeding off of it. Including any messianic imagery. As a smart, smart friend of mine said, “Men will of course deify themselves all the time.” That’s EXACTLY what the religious imagery was about, about Javier Bardem’s character living out his desire to be a god to his fans for his own ego, so deep that he let them devour his own child. It was about the church but it was only in service TO EMPHASIZE HOW HE CONSUMES HER AND WHAT SHE HAS GIVEN. Like… LORD help me. (No pun intended.)
I cannot believe a horror film about a female experience is so baffling for people to understand when we’re half the people out there. “WHAT IS IT ABOUT?????” It’s about what she’s showing you it’s about. PAY ATTENTION!!
But how poetic (ew gross) that many people who don’t get it write it off. It’s the same reason so often women are not believed and their experiences are questioned. No wonder women feel LIKE NO ONE LISTENS. <—- a direct line from Jennifer Lawrence’s character over and over in the movie.
It’s like there are people looking directly at this movie screen and seeing a blank black box for 75% of it. And here I am screaming into a pillow.
This is not to say that Mother! doesn’t take on many things, it does. There is a lot to unpack and it would be unfair of me to say there is only one way to read it. Of course there isn’t, and many parts are going to resonate with different people for different reasons. With that being said, though, to anyone trying to make the point of this movie about anything other than the experience of the female lead character, remember the gemstone and the burning woman at the beginning of the film, and then at the end. It is bookended this way for a reason. This is about the pattern of a man and how it affects the women he chooses to be with. This is about a woman who loves a selfish man who unapologetically lives selfishly and what it does to her to be in his life.
It’s metaphors, it’s symbolism, obviously it’s hyperbolic, but it’s still REAL👏🏻AS👏🏻FUCK👏🏻.