mother! has only been out for a few days, but it has already divided both critics and viewers. The Darren Aronofsky-directed film received a rare ‘F’ grade from CinemaScore audiences and only earned $7.5 million on opening weekend, which is pretty dismal compared to fellow horror movie IT‘s record-setting $117 million intake just a week prior.
Critics, on the other hand, have been kinder to the film — though not that kind. Interestingly, both negative and positive reviews focused on Aronofsky’s “auteur” vision. Where some saw genius, others saw a movie falling apart, with one reviewing calling it the worst film of the century. Jennifer Lawrence fans, however, will be happy to know that many attributed her skill to the film not being a total disaster.
Watch the trailer for the movie below, then browse through our selected reviews.
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It may be the most vile and contemptible motion picture ever released by one of the major Hollywood studios.
Kyle Smith / National Review
It’s extremely bad
I hesitate to label it the “Worst movie of the year” when “Worst movie of the century” fits it even better.
If you gave an extremely bright fifteen-year-old a bag of unfamiliar herbs to smoke, and forty million dollars or so to play with, “mother!” would be the result.
A miscast Jennifer Lawrence plus no coherent vision from Aronofsky. An empty shell of a movie.
mother! – Darren Aronofsky’s beguiling, frustrating new thriller – is the kind of movie that makes me want to avoid the internet for a century.
It’s watchable but not great
Lawrence’s exceptionally moving performance, the one subtle thing here, is probably all that makes the film bearable.
It’s a film maker seeing how far he can push you, not realizing that the line was passed about half an hour in.
This is a movie that we experienced as thrilling for the first hour and annoying for the second; the annoying part was likely just our own longing for a recognizable narrative structure.
Even Lawrence’s magnetic powers can’t keep “mother!” from going off the rails, which at first occurs cumulatively, then in a mad rush during the film’s outlandish climax.
When the film leaves the realm of the impolite or even criminal for something far more extreme, it achieves a level of excess that makes the whole enterprise increasingly cartoonish, rather than just awful.
It’s a work of genius
The further away I get from mother!, the closer it moves to my heart. It’s a delirious, disgraceful experience – just make sure you give it space to breathe.
Grappling with this climax — steeped in gore, religious symbolism, hundreds of marauding strangers (including Kristen Wiig) and sheer chutzpah — is the moviegoing gauntlet of the year.
There’s a small, or perhaps not so small, part of this beautiful, spectacular attack of a movie that wants to be booed, but that doesn’t mean we should be swift to do so.