I am pretty mixed on Darren Aronofsky as a filmmaker. I absolutely love both Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, both are excellent. The rest though, are pretty eh. Noah was probably my least favorite of his, so I was excited to see if Aronofsky could reach back for another great film. The trailer’s do not reveal much but I do like Jennifer Lawrence so wanted to catch this on its premiere day regardless. After watching, I have to say its pretty hard to unpack or explain what I just saw but I know I did have an enjoyable time.
The film shows two people who don’t have names but are referred to as Mother and Him. They live in a remote house and seemingly have a lovely quiet life at first. She takes care of the house while he struggles to write. One day a mysterious man played by Ed Harris stops by and stays over. Later he is joined by his wife. It’s hard to share much more without giving away major spoilers but lets just say things quickly become crazy afterwards. Aspects of the film will start not to make sense although I’m sure there is an allegorical meaning to everything Aronofsky does.
The footage is grainy giving a rusty feel. Lawrence is really good. Say what you want, she puts in a quality effort. The camera is very personal, always close to her face. She does well to emote the bizarre horror and confusion about the situations she’s placed in. Michelle Pfeiffer also puts forth quite a performance as a shady, bitchy, sex crazed wife with seemingly dark tendencies. The film has virtually no score but the film is still able to reverberate.
I found this film to have the look and feel of Rosemary’s Baby at first with the situation and dark nature of mystery surrounding the strangers. Its still an apt comparison and I think the film is definitely influenced by Polanski’s work but Aronofsky puts his own spin on his meaning, especially in the second half. There is an allegorical connection between the film and mother earth and how we reap and rampage and destroy something so pure. There are also biblical connotations that I feel I’ll need to have a rewatch for before trying to analyze what’s happening. There is also a commentary on idolization and the expansive nature and danger of it.
My theater crowd mostly seemed to hate it but I appreciated what I saw. Its not the best from Aronofsky and doesn’t rank among the aforementioned quality films of his, but its quite ambitious as you would expect it to be. I don’t know if many will understand how to interpret the latter parts of this film but the joy is in trying. While the film isn’t anything amazing, its one of those that will have you thinking and will polarize its viewers. Somehow, I know that’s what Aronofsky wanted.