mother! Buzz: Is Darren Aronofsky's Latest the Year's Most Controversial Movie?

Critics say the thought-provoking thriller is likely to inspire a variety of interpretations.

by | September 5, 2017 | Comments

Jennifer Lawrence
(Photo by Paramount Pictures)

Darren Aronofky is generally a celebrated filmmaker. Since his 1998 debut feature, the indie thriller Pi, almost all of his films have been Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. In fact, only one of his six movies is not — The Fountain has a 51% Tomatometer score — and even that has some very serious defenders. Still, thanks to that one outlier, the Oscar-nominated director’s Tomatometer average is 79.5%.

His latest, mother!, is currently at 100% based on the first wave of reviews out of the Venice Film Festival, and if it remains high, it could bump up Aronofsky’s average. But early buzz on the movie, which stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a couple who receive sudden uninvited guests at their remote country home, indicates that it very well could be polarizing for critics and audiences when it opens in theaters next week. Could it be the most divisive major release of the year?

Here’s what critics are saying about motherin reviews and on social media:

Great in a way that you know will divide audiences and send them barreling towards opposite ends of the opinion spectrum – it’s not a work that invites middling responses.
Travis Johnson, FilmInk

Darren Aronofsky wants to have his commercial cake and chomp down on some vexing personal issues, too… readings of the film will vary; some critics will try to decipher its writer-director’s attitude, while the public will mostly respond to the ghoulish twists and kicks, of which there are plenty.
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

Like much the rest of Aronofsky’s work, it will divide and stimulate audiences and critics, but should still be hailed as an original, strikingly unconventional piece.
Fionnuala Halligan, Screen International

Darren Aronofsky’s allusive film opens itself to a number of allegorical readings, but it also works as a straight-ahead head rush.
Ben Croll, IndieWire

Filmed with loving oppressiveness, only using three basic, handheld camera shots: seeing what Jennifer Law sees, looking over her shoulder or into her face, for the whole film. Arty! And scary.
David Sexton, London Evening Standard

The exclamation mark fits, but nothing about this is lowercase. Forget the expert spookhouse nerve: hell is truly other people.
Guy Lodge, Variety

Toss in a twist ending worthy of M. Night Shamyalan (a good or bad thing? Maybe both), and you’ve got a head-trip horror movie with something for everyone — except, perhaps, for those who want to emerge feeling more haunted than assaulted.
Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Will turn some dizzy with delirium while others retch on its fumes… But for me, the former is the only possible response. This is a mad, transfixing, rolling thunder-crash of a film – What To Expect When You’re Expecting by way of Goya’s Disasters of War – that holds its considerable nerve until the final cut to black.
Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

There seemed to be a competition from the audience for applause against boos and vice versa… I was surrounded by shrieks, yawns, laughter, smiles and a man who yelled “f— you!” at the screen as soon as the credits started. You’ll either get something you want from mother! or you’ll feel like you were robbed. You’ll leave the theater spit out into the world with a spinning head and an itch to assemble the puzzle.
Brian Formo, Collider

The easily offended, those prone to tachycardia and of course pregnant or breastfeeding women may want to avoid it, but as the inevitable boos that rang out long and lustily in its Venice press screening confirm, Mother! is something truly magnificent, the kind of visceral trash-arthouse experience that comes along very rarely, means as much or as little as you decide it does, and spits you out into the daylight dazzled, queasy, delirious, and knock-kneed as a newborn calf.
Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

The message is clear: this is a film designed to f— with you. And f— with you it does… it is a sickeningly glorious mess… the most WTF movie of the year.
Marlow Stern, The Daily Beast

See which side you fall on when mother! opens in theaters on September 15.

Tag Cloud

ratings USA Network Creative Arts Emmys Spike Infographic Nominations Pixar FX Mary Tyler Moore YA PaleyFest police drama war Awards Reality Competition OWN Winter TV aliens RT History Horror based on movie CBS All Access Paramount Network serial killer cats what to watch Starz TV Land Esquire Premiere Dates Opinion Trailer USA PBS DirecTV Disney Channel Emmys Comic Book FOX Tomatazos Martial Arts NBC TBS Food Network boxoffice dc Toys CNN Fox News sitcom Podcast A&E diversity Tumblr Biopics TCM DC Universe Crackle HBO IFC El Rey History Lifetime Pop Watching Series social media Adult Swim Certified Fresh Summer technology Musical BET Video Games talk show discovery political drama Music Christmas Holidays justice league Best and Worst Winners APB Interview sports WGN spy thriller Masterpiece AMC Warner Bros. 2016 Red Carpet Pirates Dark Horse Comics Kids & Family comiccon adventure VH1 BBC Hulu 21st Century Fox crime thriller Superheroes See It Skip It Rocky Paramount Netflix Thanksgiving X-Men period drama Universal politics supernatural golden globes dceu VICE Super Bowl Bravo Valentine's Day Calendar Marvel Ghostbusters Rom-Com Action Sundance President 2017 Mindy Kaling singing competition docudrama 007 Star Trek Britbox harry potter crime First Look Box Office Sneak Peek LGBTQ Drama TV NYCC GoT Sci-Fi cinemax transformers Set visit crime drama ABC Family Fantasy medical drama Polls and Games psycho TCA MTV Star Wars historical drama Acorn TV The Arrangement The CW Freeform thriller 2015 romance Cartoon Network 45 FXX Animation DC Comics CMT SDCC Syfy GIFs Schedule Trivia Western BBC America Oscars Cosplay American Society of Cinematographers Extras Mystery Lionsgate zombie Sundance Now Writers Guild of America TruTV Logo Nat Geo Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Musicals Character Guide CBS Marathons Reality 24 frames Teen Rock vampires Ellie Kemper Comedy Central science fiction E! Grammys Comedy TCA 2017 Fall TV binge ESPN E3 cops ITV ABC GLAAD MSNBC cooking TLC Year in Review Showtime Spring TV Country travel TNT dramedy Disney biography Nickelodeon composers Countdown SundanceTV TIFF Election Amazon Photos