Boy, the critics do NOT like Jennifer Lawrence’s new movie, mother!
Yes, the movie’s title is lower case (pretentious) and includes an exclamation point. Really. And while it pulls down a respectable 68% on the film rating website Rotten Tomatoes, some of the most renowned critics slashed the movie to tiny pieces.
Most brutal was Rex Reed. Writing for the Observer, Reed emptied his clip — then reloaded like 20 times.
This delusional freak show is two hours of pretentious twaddle that tackles religion, paranoia, lust, rebellion, and a thirst for blood in a circus of grotesque debauchery to prove that being a woman requires emotional sacrifice and physical agony at the cost of everything else in life, including life itself. That may or may not be what Aronofsky had in mind, but it comes as close to a logical interpretation as any of the other lunk-headed ideas I’ve read or heard. The reviews, in which a group of equally pretentious critics frustratingly search for a deeper meaning, are even nuttier than the film itself. Using descriptions like “hermeneutic structure,” “phantasmagoric fantasia,” “cinematic Rorsach test” and “extended scream of existential rage,” they sure know how to leave you laughing.
Reed suggests ignoring the reviews that praise the director, Darren Aronofsky, as some sort of visionary.
One critic says it’s a satire on the chaos the dysfunctional world has been turned into by Donald Trump. Another says the title refers to the role played by Jennifer Lawrence, the director’s current personal squeeze and cinematic muse, whom he slobbers over in endlessly annoying close-ups that emphasize her flaws and rob the viewer of the power of self-discovery. One reviewer says she plays the quintessential Earth mother who works feverishly to restore balance to a planet Earth that is being constantly torn apart by wickedness and savagery. I love the review that compares the movie to the “lancing of a boil.” They all insist mother! is a metaphor for something, although they are not quite sure what it is. …
The New York Times critic arrogantly warns in his review: “Don’t listen to anyone who natters on about how intense or disturbing it is.” Sorry, pal, but a mob that burns a screaming baby and its mother alive, then turns cannibal, eats the baby and rips its heart out to flush down the toilet while Patti Smith sings about the end of the world pretty much fits my definition of both “intense” and “disturbing.” What’s yours?
Nothing about mother! makes one lick of sense as Darren Aronofsky’s corny vision of madness turns more hilarious than scary. With so much crap around to clog the drain, I hesitate to label it the “Worst movie of the year” when “Worst movie of the century” fits it even better.
CinemaScore, which tracks audience reactions on opening night, has given the movie a rare F (only 12 films since 2004 have earned the worst score).
Critic Susan Granger said the flick is just “another instance of pretentious, self-indulgent torture-porn.”
The liberal Huffington Post wasn’t keen on the film, either.
“mother!” is the kind of film where anything and everything is thrown up on the screen. Nothing has to make sense because it is all a matter of interpretation. Some may call that art but I call it befuddlement. There is no central theme to the film because it is all in the audiences’ heads as to what means what.
It is hard to imagine that most members of the audience will face the final scene of the film, if they last that long, and say, “Well that explains everything”. It doesn’t. Aronofsky might have thought by flinging paint against a canvas he made a masterpiece. He didn’t. He made a mess.
Kyle Smith of National Review called the movie “a biblically-infused version of torture porn” and said that “it may be the most vile and contemptible motion picture ever released.”
“To experience the final half-hour is to understand what it must feel like to be a clump of broccoli in a Cuisinart,” he wrote.
Critic Sonny Bunch also ripped the last 30 minutes:
The skill that went into crafting mother! is undeniable — the final thirty minutes or so are as relentless as they are nasty — but so is its unpleasantness, its aggressively nihilistic and misanthropic ugliness. I can’t quite tell whether I hate the movie or just its message, but mother! may be one of the rare artistic instances in which this is a distinction without a difference.
The movie opened on Friday and Deadline.com wrote on Sunday: “Well, it’s clear: Moviegoers officially hate Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! … The bold Jennifer Lawrence pic crashed well below its $11M projections with an estimated $7.5M in third as of Sunday morning. When compared to her wide releases in their first weekend (1,000-plus theaters), it’s the lowest opening for Lawrence, even lower than her 2012 Relativity horror movie The House at the End of the Street ($12.3M).”