• Friday, December 8, 2017
  • 8:00 PM–11:00 PM
  • Covenant Fine Arts Center
  • FREE

Trouble In Paradise...

The central metaphor is hardly hidden in Mother! An old house with a round layout lies in a field, surrounded by trees, no roads leading up to it: a tranquil Eden. Inside lives a woman (Jennifer Lawrence) and her much older husband (Javier Bardem), a famous poet who can’t shake his writers’ block. While he paces and agonizes, she painstakingly restores the old house, to which she has a sort of biological connection.

“I want to make a paradise,” she says. (You don’t say.)

Then one day a man (Ed Harris) shows up on the doorstep and stays the night, despite the woman’s hesitance to let the stranger in. The next day the man’s wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) shows up. The couple are intrusive, inserting themselves into the placid life of the poet and his wife, asking invasive questions and making themselves entirely too much at home. Eventually their two grown and feuding sons (real-life brothers Brian and Domhnall Gleeson) show up and start fighting in the house. The woman is horrified by the intrusion.

To go on in detail would be to spoil the fun. But in case you haven’t caught on, this is imagery drawn directly from the Bible, and it requires a certain watery apocalypse to get things back on track — not, however, before the seeds for a new life and the poet’s newest work are planted.

Mother! pings back and forth between the placid perfection of the peaceful house and all-out destruction while treading the whole history of the world inside of a couple of hours. In this telling, though, God — or the god figure, anyhow — is a dual-natured being, light and darkness, youth and maturity, fertility and blocked creativity. And just because God the father is willing to give up his son for the warring, lusting, violent beings who crave to touch him doesn’t mean the mother is quite as willing.

—Alissa Wilkinson for VOX