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After catching up with a few films I watched over the last months, now I am stuck with this monster of a film… what to write about it? It requires comment, no doubt. Dismissing “mother!” as a mere act of madness is possible, but the question (to me) is whether it is an act of madness to be appreciated and praised, or rather frowned upon. Maybe I have to start by writing that I was never bored, that each time the life of Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem threatened to move into smooth territory, and each time the previous intrusion of craziness was done with, the director leads you one step further up the ladder of mayhem.

It starts with what looks like an innocuous visit by an admittedly creepy stranger (then again: Ed Harris, who lets Ed Harris into the house in the middle of the night and expects a calm night?), the increasingly deviant behavior of Bardem’s character towards his wife, his life, and his fans. The bunch of relatives Harris lures into the house. Their increasingly violent struggles. Harris’ wife and her alcohol-fueled unsolicited streams of love advice. The sons (of Brendan Gleeson, actually, but that is just background fun). The literary agent (girl! you managed to defy expectations…), the squad team, the disciples, the … Lawrence gawks at all this, she is a bystander to her world being turned upside down, her house being turned into an allegory for … many things: Earth, religion, motherhood etc.

The breaking point for an audience comes, I guess, when you kept shouting at Lawrence  “Do Something!” for an hour, and she still won’t. If you go with it, feel her victimhood and the role she plays as being subjected to a world going mad around her, then you will stay to the end, maybe even watch it again and stumble across quite a few rewarding clues and traces hinting at the things to come, and what the larger picture here may be.

I love crazy movies that don’t lose control of their structure, so I have to say: this was brilliantly done almost beginning to end! I loved to hate Bardem and almost everybody else in the film, and I loved to follow this world being torn to pieces and recycled in another effort to make things better. This is edgy, and edgy is direly needed amidst all the straightforward story telling that we face every day.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/mother_2017

 

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