Mother! (stylized as mother!) is an American drama horror film directed by Darren Aronofsky. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer.

The film was released on September 15, 2017 by Paramount Pictures.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

In the burnt-out remains of a large house, Him, an acclaimed poet struggling with writer's block, places a crystal object on a pedestal in his study. The ruined house morphs into a lovely home in an edenic landscape. In bed, mother, the poet's wife and muse, awakens and wonders aloud where Him is. While renovating the house, she starts seeing things that unsettle her, including visualizing a beating heart within its walls.

One day, a stranger referred to as man turns up at the house, asking for a room and claiming to be a local doctor. Him readily agrees, and mother reluctantly follows suit. During his stay, man suffers coughing fits and mother observes an open wound in his side. Soon man's wife, woman, also arrives to stay. mother is increasingly frustrated with her guests, but Him begs her to let them stay, revealing to mother they are fans of his work and man is dying. However, when man and woman accidentally shatter the crystal object, which Him had forbidden them to touch, mother kicks them out and Him boards up his study.

Before man and woman can leave, their two sons arrive and fight over their father's will. The oldest son, who will be left with nothing, severely wounds the younger brother and flees. Him, man, and woman take the injured son for help. Alone in the house, mother follows a trail of blood to find a tank of heating oil hidden behind the basement walls.

Upon returning, Him informs mother the son has died. Dozens of people arrive at the house to honor the dead son. They behave in rude and presumptuous ways that irritate mother; she snaps when they break a sink, partially flooding the house. She orders everyone out and berates Him for allowing so many people inside while ignoring her needs. Their argument ends in passionate lovemaking.

The next morning, mother announces she is pregnant. The news elates Him and inspires him to finish his work. mother prepares for the arrival of their child and reads Him's beautiful new poem. Upon publication, it immediately sells out every copy. In celebration, mother prepares a big dinner, but a group of fans arrives at the house before they can eat. She asks Him to send them away, but he insists he has to be polite and show his appreciation, and tells her he will return soon. mother tries to lock the doors, but more fans arrive and enter the house, where many begin to use the toilet. They start stealing things as souvenirs and damaging the house, but Him is oblivious due to the adulation he is receiving. Hundreds of people fill the house and an increasingly disoriented mother watches it devolve into chaos. Military forces battle a cult of frenzied fans who tear rooms apart and engage in religious rituals. Amidst gunfire and explosions, the herald, the poet's publicist, organizes mass executions.

mother goes into labor and finds Him. He takes her to his study, which he reopens so she can give birth there. The havoc outside subsides. Him tells mother his fans want to see their newborn son; she refuses and holds her son tightly. When she falls asleep, however, Him takes their child outside to the crowd, which passes the baby around wildly until his neck is inadvertently snapped. mother wades into the crowd where she sees people eating her son's mutilated corpse. Furious, she calls them murderers and stabs them with a shard of glass. They turn on her, viciously beating and attempting to strangle her until Him intervenes. He implores mother to forgive them, but she escapes, makes her way to the basement oil tank, and punctures it with a pipe wrench. Despite her husband's pleas, she sets the oil alight; it explodes, destroying the crowd, the house, and the surrounding environment.

mother and Him survive; she is horrifically burned while Him is completely unscathed. He asks for her love and she agrees. He tears open her chest and removes her heart. As he crushes the heart with his hands, a new crystal object is revealed. He places it on its pedestal and, once again, the house is transformed from a burnt-out shell into a beautiful home. In bed, a new mother appears and wakes up, wondering aloud where Him is.

All spoilers have been stated and have ended here.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

After 2014's Noah, Aronofsky began working on a children's film. During that process, he came up with a new idea. He ended up writing the Mother! screenplay in five days, much faster than his usual pace. The film uses a dream-logic narrative, of which Aronofsky has noted, "if you try to unscrew it, it kind of falls apart," and that "it's a psychological freak-out. You shouldn't over-explain it."

Jennifer Lawrence was reportedly in talks to join the film by October 2015. By January 2016, Javier Bardem was also in talks to star, and by April Domhnall Gleeson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Harris, and Brian Gleeson were added to the cast. In March 2016, it was announced Kristen Wiig was cast in the film.

Shooting for the film began on June 13, 2016, and concluded on August 28, 2016. Prior to the start of principal photography, the cast rehearsed for three months in a warehouse, during which time Aronofsky was able to "get a sense of movement and camera movement, and learn from that." During this time, Lawrence was relatively laid-back, and Aronofsky has said that as a result he "didn't get to know the character until we started shooting, and she showed up."

Music[edit | edit source]

Mother! is the first Aronofsky film without composer Clint Mansell's involvement. The film originally had a score composed by Jóhann Jóhannsson, but after seeing the 90-minute score synced up with a rough cut of the film, Aronofsky and Jóhannsson agreed not to use the original score. They experimented with using the score at only a few moments, or instead using a new minimal score focused on sound design that incorporated noises into the soundscape of the house. Ultimately, they went with the second choice, and Jóhannsson's work merged with the sound design of Craig Henighan.

Over its closing credits, the film features an a cappella Patti Smith cover of Skeeter Davis's "The End of the World".

Release[edit | edit source]

The film was originally scheduled to be released on October 13, 2017, but was moved to September 15.

The film had its world premiere at the 74th Venice International Film Festival, where it was selected to compete for the Golden Lion. The film premiered in London on 6 September 2017. It also screened at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.

Box Office[edit | edit source]

Mother! grossed $17.8 million in the United States and Canada and $26.7 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $44.5 million, against a budget of $30 million.

The film was released alongside American Assassin in the United States and Canada and was projected to gross $12–14 million from 2,368 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $700,000 from Thursday night previews and $3.1 million on its first day. It went on to open to just $7.5 million, finishing third at the box office and marking the worst debut for Lawrence in a film where she had top billing. In its second weekend, the film dropped 56.3% to $3.3 million, finishing sixth at the box office.

Home media[edit | edit source]

Mother! was released digitally on December 5, 2017, and was released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 19.

Critical Reception[edit | edit source]

Mother! received polarizing, But mostly positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, The film has a score of 69% based on 366 reviews with an average score of 6.83/10. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 75 out of 100, based on reviews from 51 critics. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a rare average grade of "F" on an A+ to F scale, making it one of twenty-one films to receive such a score as of April 2020, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave a 51% overall positive and a 33% "definite recommend".

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Jennifer Lawrence took a year off from making movies after this working on film.
  • Paramount Pictures canceled the upcoming Friday the 13th film in order to move ahead with this film.
  • The film's marketing team had hired an artist to paint a mural of the film in Sydney, Australia. However, the mural covered up a 20-year-old painting by a local artist depicting animals in a cityscape. The director of the film was embarrassed about the mural being painted over the historic piece of art. The agency has since contacted the mural's original artist and offered their help in restoring the artwork to its original form.
  • After Jennifer Lawrence read the script, she was so shaken by it that she threw it across the room, and Michelle Pfeiffer had admitted not understanding the script the first time she read it, describing it as "esoteric."
  • Jennifer Lawrence described Michelle Pfeiffer's work in the film as her best performance and she forgot her lines during one scene when Pfeiffer was walking towards her because she was so taken with the color of her eyes.
  • The film was shot using 16 mm film, the fourth time Darren Aronofsky has shot a film on this format.
  • Numerous theories began to circulate that the film was a remake of Rosemary's Baby (1968) due to limited details being released about the film's premise, mainly because one of the film's posters is a recreation of said film's poster.
  • Jennifer Lawrence got so much into her character that during certain scenes, she started hyperventilating and even cracked a rib.
  • During an interview with Indiewire, Aronofsky explained the concept of the film: "Lawrence is Gaia, or Mother Earth, while her house represents the world -- a living, breathing organism being destroyed by its inhabitants. Her husband, known as 'Him' in the film, is God. Out of boredom, he creates Adam and Eve (the couple), who proceed to destroy both Gaia's creation and His study (the Garden of Eden), which holds God's perfect crystal (the apple). Their quarrelling sons are Cain and Abel. They also bring worshipers to praise God, who keep sitting on mother's unsupported sink, and eventually, cause the pipes to burst into a 'Great Flood'. God impregnates mother, who gives birth to the Messiah -- a chaotic sequence followed by a disquieting communion and Revelations."

Videos[edit | edit source]

Trailers[edit | edit source]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.