How Does the Movie ‘Mother!’ Hold Up 5 Years On?

Mother! It is, to all intents, a Rorschach test. Every viewer leaves Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller with a different interpretation of what the movie is about. However, there are a few common theories about the movie’s meaning, particularly regarding the question of Jennifer Lawrence’s role in Mother! There seem to be two major schools of thought regarding the Oscar-winner’s star role: Mother Earth and Women. Read this Mother movie explained for a more in-depth analysis.

Mother doesn’t have a name for Lawrence’s character. None of the characters have a name in Mother! She is instead known as Mother, even though she isn’t yet a mother. She has a house she has renovated and turned into a home with her husband, Him (Javier Bardem). Mother, as a homemaker, is like Mother Earth. Her husband and many (and sometimes strange) guests have a home she has built. The home is alive to her. It can breathe, it has a heartbeat and it even bleeds. Mother’s home, much like the Earth herself, is a living extension to her. This was done by design. Aronofsky stated that he wanted to make a film on Mother Nature in an interview with Variety. “So we’re currently working on an allegorical basis, where it deals with these big symbols.”

Lawrence has stated that she plays Mother Nature in the film. She also referred to character traits she drew from the allegory. The actor, for example, emphasized the idea of the house as an extension to her character and told the Toronto International Film Festival audience via PopSugar that “the connection, the idea the house was one organism” was what the greatest tool was for her. The connection inspired some practical details in the character’s life. Mother is seen walking barefoot throughout the film as a sign of her connection to nature and her surroundings. 

Mother gives to others, often to her detriment. Aronofsky said that this pattern was inspired by humanity’s “endless consumption”. Lawrence is Mother! Despite the many similarities between Mother Nature and Mother Nature! She is not only the Earth but also the oppressive reality of being a mother in patriarchal society. Mother is submissive to the point that she can even self-harm throughout the film. She is devoted to her husband to the point of self-harm and caters to his dreams of becoming a writer more than her own.

It is a classic portrayal of the roles that a woman and her husband were supposed to play for centuries. Lawrence said that the movie was feminist when he was asked if it was feminist. He compared it to Jane Eyre novels, which explore the unbalanced power dynamics between men and women. Lawrence spoke to Variety about how the film is “incredibly feminist” in that it shows husbands who are slowly but delicately taking away women’s dignity.

Mother! Mother! is not only about Mother Nature but also about our unrealistic expectations of mothers in everyday life. Mothers are expected to give, to be kind and to care for us all, just like the Earth. This is a depressing image of women that doesn’t help anyone. It’s just as harmful to all of us to take advantage of the Earth’s resources and endlessly exploit it. Know Mother! It is about Mother!