meghan’s review published on Letterboxd:
mother! misses the mark exceptionally. aronofsky throws all subtlety out the window, and leaves absolutely no room for audience interpretation. it is unnecessarily brutal, and tries so hard to be intellectual that it feels quite the opposite; too overtly pretentious, and too obvious in its metaphors.
as a religious allegory, the film is too in your face. the religious symbolism is spelled out too clearly; anyone with even a basic knowledge of religion could spot the allusions to adam and eve or the crucifixion. what this means for the story is an unneeded dumbing down of the narrative. the film doesn't force you to think, to analysize what you are seeing in front of you and instead lays it all out bare. the same can be said of the film as an environmental warning; aronofsky's intention of showing humanities negative affects on mother nature are much too forward. the audience must feel rewarded for critical thinking; they should be made to feel intelligent because of their ability to read contextual clues and see the subtext. without that subtext, that reward is taken away, and mother! completely lacks any and all subtext.
as supposed feminist empowerment, the film fails on a grandiose level. the final moments of lawrence's character supposedly finding some sense of individuality is immediately tainted by her submission once again to the whims of Him. after giving all she has to give to Him, Mother is replaced by another nameless, beautiful woman. while aronofsky intends for this to show that the struggle of women and their pressure to submit to men is universal, instead it feels that he is saying women are easily replaceable. that their purpose is to submit to a man, and when they have given all they could give another woman will come in and give more. the violence and disrespect towards women in this film is vile and the exact opposite of empowering.
jennifer lawrence and javier barden both bored me to tears. their performances were flat and unnatural, to the point of being almost unbearable. michelle pfeiffer was genuinely the saving grace of this film. mother! had so much potential, and in the hands of a competent director it could have worked. instead it was fumbling, uncomfortable, and disjointed.