mother! has provoked a huge amount of debate, as viewers try to figure out exactly what writer and director Darren Aronofksy was trying to say with the film. Those of you that have seen it will be fully aware that Aronofsky, who wrote mother! in just five days, packs it with visual metaphors and imagery, but the actual intent is still rather hard to work out.
Thankfully for us Ari Handel, one of “mother!’s” producers who has worked with Aronofsky throughout his career, has now provided us with some priceless insight, revealing exactly what the director was trying to say with the film.
Warning: Those of you that haven’t seen “mother!” shouldn’t read ahead, as the comments are packed full of SPOILERS.
Earlier this week I spoke with Handel on the phone, and he admitted that Aronofsky wanted Jennifer Lawrence’s character to represent the Earth, while then critiquing the various ways that we have damaged it.
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“This film is about some large metaphors. There’s a metaphor where the house and Jen’s character are representative of the Earth. In that way it’s a cautionary tale, because this giving woman is pushed and pushed and pushed and everything that she loves is taken from her that eventually she strikes back with apocalyptic consequences. So with that metaphor in mind the film is a warning to us, and will hopefully make us take a look around a little bit.”
Handel made sure to insist that there’s many more metaphors to “mother!”, adding that he doesn’t want to “constrain” audience members, who he expects will delve into its “richness” and then “find their own things in it and bring their own things to it." He added that he wanted the audience "free them to find their own connections."
At the same time, Handel also went into detail about just how timely “mother!" has become, especially as Jennifer Lawrence is made to feel so unsafe in her own home. "This film creates a feeling of what it’s like to feel unsafe in your safest places. Like in your marriage, and in your home, and in your world, and I think when you look at the newspaper and you listen to the buzzing on your smart phone our world doesn’t feel that safe.”
But Handel also made sure to point out that Aronofksy’s main aim with “mother!” was simply to entertain. “You always want to entertain your audience, and you want to bring them somewhere that they didn’t know they were going to go. Have an experience that they didn’t know they were going to have, and have these feelings in them that they may not know they were going to feel, so that they are transported by the film. That’s the first thing, just on a plain visceral level.”
There’s no question that Darren Aronofsky achieved just that with “mother!,” which provokes, pummels, and is constantly entertaining, and is also now in cinemas across the country.