Friday, September 15, 2017


I went to see this movie because a friend wanted to, and because Jennifer Lawrence is among the greatest movie actors of our time. And some of the early moments in the film, though tense and seemingly deliberately confusing, focused so closely on her face that it was almost preciously idolatrous for those of us who are fans.

But then Darren Aronofsky's sickeningly pretentious writing and directing led to the rest of the one-hundred-and-twenty minute movie feeling like days, even weeks, of torture. If there were a Supreme Court for movies, MOTHER! would be condemned to a lifetime of solitary confinement for its abuse of the audience, the actors, and most spectacularly of the star, Jennifer Lawrence.

I can't believe that she and her fellow actors in this film—including Michelle Pfeiffer (who, full disclosure I met a few times in my Hollywood years, and she was always gracious, unpretentious and genuine), Ed Harris, and Kristen Wiig—read this script and still agreed to do it. MOTHER! is a paen to hurting, blaming, disrespecting, defiling, torturing, and abusing a woman to satisfy a male ego.

Truly. That seems to be the point of the movie, and all who participated should have been able to see that in the script, unless Aronofsky sprung the scenes on the actors without preparation. My guess is they fell for the "genius" card and surrendered to his vision because it might mean something deep or be high art or win a bunch of Oscars.

I always stay for the credits but needed to vacate the theater as soon as they began, and I thought the voice singing over the credits as I exited was Patti Smith's. If it was her, I hope she didn't read the script before deciding to add her talent to this pile of vile.

They tell me Aronofsky (who, full disclosure, I encountered at the memorial service for Hubert Selby Jr. at Grauman's Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, where we were both among the speakers, and confronted him with the false assumption he'd made that Selby was "Irish" in an elegy he'd written in the L. A. Weekly, Selby was proud that his family went back to  Colonial times and definitely wasn't Irish) and Jennifer Lawrence are a couple.

If that is true, and this is the first project he writes and directs for her to star in, then the message he seems to be sending is I will torture and abuse you as an actress, and as the character you're playing, to show who holds all the power in this relationship (with Javier Baden playing the creative artist character stand-in for Aronofsky in the film). Ack. I can't get the bad taste out of my mouth and mind.  I'll have to re-watch WONDER WOMAN.    


AlamedaTom said...

Hey Lal. I'm going to stay away from this flick based on your review alone because I trust your judgment and taste. Even so, it never ceases to amaze me how different souls experience an artistic offering in strikingly different ways. A case in point is this review of the same movie:

Proving again the old saying, "different strokes for different folks."

~ Willy

Lally said...

yeah, that critic totally misses or avoids or chooses to blatantly disregard the overwhelmingly sexist essence at the heart of the movie...