DVD Review: mother!

STUDIO: Paramount | DIRECTOR: Darren Aronofsky | CAST: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson
RELEASE DATE: Dec. 19, 2017 | PRICE: DVD $17.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $19.99, 4K Ultra HD $25.96
BONUSES: two featurettes (Blu-ray only)
SPECS: R | 121 min. | Drama | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital stereo

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall 1/2

Likely to be high on 2017’s most talked-about and least seen film ratio, the latest from Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Noah) is pretty much as experimental a film involving A-list talent you’ll ever see. Often over-the-top to the point of absurdity, mother! is a symbol-laden domestic horror saga that may be hard to figure out but somehow manages to be highly compelling nonetheless.

Jennifer Lawrence (Passengers) and Javier Bardem (Skyfall) are an unnamed couple living in a quaint country house she’s renovating while he—a writer– tries to break free from his writer’s block and complete a new work of poetry. Their lives are disrupted by the surprise appearance by odd couple Ed Harris (Man on a Ledge), a sickly admirer of Bardem’s work, and loquacious wife Michelle Pfeiffer (New Year’s Eve). Much to Bardem’s appreciation and Lawrence’s chagrin, the couple—later joined by their troubled sons—moves into the couple’s house. From there, the bizarre situation grows even stranger as Lawrence and Bardem’s marriage is continually tested in amped-up ways.

What Aronofsky is saying exactly has been up for debate even before the film opened, and the discussions will continue as the film lands on disc. Is he making statements about marriage, the price of fame, the environment, his personal relationship with Lawrence, the battle between the sexes, or all of the above? And what’s with the references to Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining, Luis Bunuel and The Bible?

It’s unlikely mother! will win many new fans outside of its flat theatrical run that brought in $18 million (the film reportedly cost $35 million to produce). But it will definitely attract plenty of viewers interested in checking out what all the hubbub was about and to see why the hysterical, disturbing mother! could be a cult film in the making.

Buy or Rent Mother!

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.