Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: Mother, Darren Aronofsky's

7 of 8 viewers "Liked" "Mother" (2017, USA)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

Randy the Reverberator - "Mother! takes a Bunuelian premise, a la The Exterminating Angel, and plays it for horror. For me, Mother! is a lot of things…it’s a film about the anxieties of being in a relationship, a marriage, of having a child…a film about ego, about writers' block and the search for inspiration as told through the perspective of a woman living with a writer. Apparently, Darren Aronofsky wrote this script in 5 days and it definitely feels like a well-tuned vomit draft of these anxieties, which end up manifesting themselves inside this house occupied by Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem’s characters. It’s a film that operates on dream logic, and it’s best to not over think it. The pacing is great, and time passes strangely here thanks in part to the editing by Andrew Weisblum. Jennifer Lawrence is our surrogate as an audience, we know as little as she does as to what’s going on. We’re with her in extreme close-up for a lot of the film. The absurdity of unexpected guests entering their house and not being able to leave builds tension, you can see and feel it in Jennifer Lawrence's performance. And then we get a finale, that will be a very polarizing one. It’s a cliche, but I do believe that good art should be challenging, and the last 30 or so minutes of Mother! is just that." - 4 Stars

Huntress - "Mother! was one hell of an invasive and aggravating watch. It starts off exploring obsessive compulsive host anxiety but descends into an introvert’s fever dream. Jennifer Lawrence portrays one of the loneliest characters I can think of from recent film, combining the residential protectiveness found in Of Unknown Origin with the delusional paranoia of Repulsion. I couldn't help but feel empathy for her; watching her notice everything that was out of place or being touched despite her restriction stressed me out, because we all think we know why she was so sentimental about everything. There are so many layers to this film, potentially countless interpretations, and an endless stream of details that will speak to you personally, however, in order to get the whole picture, Mother! will beat you down and take everything you have emotionally. And now that I've let it sit with me, I'm ready for another beating!" - 5 Stars

Trash - "I want to give this an impulsive 5 stars for completely surprising me and giving me so much to think about. It's a movie I want to watch, then sit down at a bar with friends and just dissect it. I understand the comparisons people are making to other films, but this is a real Aronofsky experience that's using examples from his cinematic influences without becoming too much like them. It's foremost a fantasy film, a relationship with touches of magical realism and connections to the earth, that starts rotting inside, and goes very, very bad. Mother! is daring enough to ask you to go through something upsetting and strange, and when you get out on the other side, you'll have a lot to wrap your head around. I only wish I could have seen it projected how it was shot, on 16mm film, because it was gorgeous." - 5 Stars

Lord Battle - "Last week, theatres were packed with people going to see IT, a movie that will be remembered as America's escape from the horrors of reality. A week later, horror aficionado Darren Aronofsky releases a film that has more mood in its opening 10 minutes than anything IT could achieve in its 2+ hour runtime and the only thing the headlines will mention is about its "F" cinemascore... This does selfishly make me happy because I don't like to share the things I love with everyone but it also drives me insane because people are missing out on a beautiful visual narrative that a group can experience together and follow up with a conversation that attempts to find clarity in the confusion, and they're missing it! IT may be screening for months, but Mother! will be remembered for years." - 4.5 Stars

The Ascendant - "Similar to the work of (Danish) Director Lars von Trier, Darren Aronofsky’s films have always been met with as much controversy as praise. In 1998, Aronofsky captured the attention of viewers worldwide with his debut feature film Pi. Two-years after, Aronofsky adapted Hubert Selby Jr.’s 1978 novel Requiem For A Dream, in what can be only described as a cinematic haymaker, riffled with drug abuse & sweaty sex parties. In the years following, Aronofsky dialed back a bit on (immediately) disturbing images in favor of brooding surrealism, evident in his films such as The Fountain (2006), Black Swan (2010) and The Wrestler (2008). It only made sense that Aronofsky’s most polarizing film comes in the form of 2017’s Mother!, an amalgamation of his previous cinematic brushstrokes, both whimsical and visceral. Even while audiences are (still) up in arms over the film’s overall meaning, there are a few things the film does right. First off, Matthew Libatique’s cinematography is both breathtaking and (immediately) eerie. This is no surprise as Libatique has been Aronofsky’s Cinematographer through all six of his feature-length films. Here, Libatique shows an incredible eye for soft lighting as well as highlighting changes in texture & contrast. I found myself falling in love with the film’s environment before any of its characters. Another highlight is Aronofsky’s mastery of tension in the first quarter of the film. Aronofsky’s script shows no fear and immediately places the viewer in a sense of distress, starting us on wobbly knees as we gnaw on our fingernails, attempting to right our stances. In that, is the film’s greatest fault and the reason why (I believe) so many audiences are upset with the film, that it requires so much previous understanding of its reference material to get a coherent narrative. There is a lot of religious allegory in this film, much of which would be lost on most audiences (other than who Jennifer Lawrence (Mother) & Javier Bardem (Him) directly represent). With that said, I have spoken to many who have seen the film (including The Overlook Theater’s Randy The Reverberator) who viewed the film differently than I did, showcasing some incredibly valid points for the film’s meaning. An audience should not be required to study base references for a film for it to have emotional resonance but it’s worth noting that here, it makes for a much stronger viewing. It’s clear that Mother! (2017) is Aronofsky’s most personal film to-date but one has to wonder, did Aronofsky make this film solely for himself? Regardless of what its Theatrical Distribution will tell you, audiences will tell you he did not make it for them." - 2.5 Stars

Midnight Bloom - "It was a fun experience watching Mother!, after watching the trailers I didn't know what to expect. And, damn, what a disturbing film. Jennifer Lawrence was phenomenal! Her acting was spot on.. I was on the edge of my seat, the movie was a huge nightmare. At the end of the movie I had a headache from trying to put the pieces together but in the end I finally got it! It's really a great film, I'd see it again." - 4 Stars

Wandering Panda - "Mother, HIM, publisher, male guest 1, female guest 1, everyone else, and House. This is a movie about Mother (Mother nature) Him (God/creator) publisher (The herald) male guest 1 (Adam) female guest 1 (Eve) everyone else (humanity) and house (Garden of Eden). I saw this movie 2 times, the first time with the Overlook family and the second time the very next night by myself. Twice I heard people say it sucked/ was boring and twice I saw people walk out the movie completely but don't let that fool you. I love this movie. Other people will take other things away from this movie but this is what I took away. The script is simple but powerful. The setting (the house) is simple yet symbolic, the cast is simple yet complex. As much as I wanna spoil this movie and analyse everything, I can't. There would be way too much and most of it would be my assumptions. Go see this move. It's a must watch and oh my god the cinematography is so intense and captivating. All in all Mother! is intense, gripping, and one hell of a movie!" - 5 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "Anyone who knows me knows I love the thoughts of others. Words. I love hearing what they think of things. Except when it comes to the films of Darren Aronofsky. See, I could give a floating ark what you or anyone else thinks about Mother!, because his movies are a special friend that I meet up with, one on one, every few years or so. Our conversations are personal. So personal. Uninvited guests are not welcome. When Mother! came over I greeted her warmly and saw that she had become even more seasoned in her travels, and that her big ideas were now distinct and had aged beautifully, intricately, delicately.  Dear reader, she was a seductive, beguiling houseguest; so in control she seemed at times to disappear into her own conversation. I knew the visit would be special, even when she upset me.  After all, she made me think about personal failings I had with people I like and love. She made me think old stories half forgotten and gave them new power to structure our reality, to reimagine what I wanted myself and ourselves to be.  And honestly, at times I was a little afraid because I wasn't always sure what she was doing and was also afraid (I never learn) that she might have lost her mind. But my crazy friend is wise even when wrong. So please understand I mean no malice when I say I want you to leave us the fuck alone.  This is our time together." - 5 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

Last week we reviewed IT and for the wrap-up I shared a post IT screening "BONUS!" episode of The Overlook Hour, where we attempted to capture the energy and ideas that follow a theatrical screening. Well we've done it again and with a film that couldn't be farther from IT... So if you enjoyed last week's "BONUS!" episode you'll love hearing people stumble over what Aronofsky's Mother! could be about. Be warned, the free flow of conversation and ideas we're aiming for can only be achieved with SPOILERS but if you're reading the warp-up you've already seen the film... right?

- Lord Battle

The Overlook Theatre materialized in the New Mission theatre for a screening on 9/7/2017
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.

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