Extremely impressive (and promising) debut from Holmer, who tells her story of social discomfort/the challenges of finding one's place during that awkward pre-adolescence period of life through predominantly formal means—sound is utilized brilliantly to drown out/muddle/emphasize Toni's (Royalty Hightower) emotions and thoughts; tracking shots, both forward and reverse, effortlessly shift to graceful pans; empty gyms, with Toni little more than a speck in the frame, contrast with packed practices to highlight her struggle to find her comfort zone (er, fit…
Starts off very promisingly, with a premise (neglected child) that tends to win me over in all forms, be they dramatic or comedic (e.g. Chaplin's The Kid). The always charming Lloyd has a nice chemistry with his little girl companion, but the gags quickly grow repetitive, with Lloyd seemingly constrained by the train's enclosed setting—you can only go to the climbing/sitting in/around/on top of the car well so many times; ditto for carrying a liquid through a narrow corridor. Some amusing moments and a sweet heart, but ultimately one of the weaker Lloyd/Roach collaborations that I've seen.
Extended Cut. Third viewing, and I'm now convinced that this is one of the truly titanic works of the past 25 years (and it'd already ranked among my top 15 since 2000). Was acutely aware this time around of just how extraordinary (and how daring) Lonergan's use of sound is here—frequent sequences garner their power almost exclusively via city conversation/noise overlays of the scene in question's central focus, and the approach, while risky as all hell, somehow always manages to…
Thematically dexterous and aggressively ambitious (to the point of testing even the most liberal of limits), mother! is most certainly not for everyone, but I found it wildly challenging, positively Buñuelian at times, and, if occasionally inconsistently so, exceedingly rewarding. The religious allegory speaks for itself, but I took little away from that because (a) it's been done a million times before; (b) it's not a topic that really does much for me anyway; and (c) there are so many…