News

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

VH1 Crackle ITV streaming Warner Bros. Television Academy Classic Film teaser Disney Channel Biopics Mudbound vampires Kids & Family politics TV Land National Geographic spain space History medical drama based on movie GoT NBC Sundance Now television Action PBS ESPN SDCC Mary Tyler Moore crime YouTube Red Family Rocky 2015 Animation joker Martial Arts Set visit Mary poppins Thanksgiving hispanic comic psycho south america historical drama dramedy YA Mary Poppins Returns Mystery video X-Men USA Film Cartoon Network Captain marvel Walt Disney Pictures Pop police drama technology blaxploitation richard e. Grant ratings CBS singing competition Dark Horse Comics Esquire natural history HBO Max cancelled television TNT sports Acorn TV cinemax cancelled TV shows USA Network MSNBC TBS zombies Sony Pictures Fantasy miniseries what to watch Columbia Pictures Tumblr Epix Music Creative Arts Emmys dragons composers robots Reality Competition Black Mirror golden globes Sneak Peek LGBT LGBTQ E3 stand-up comedy Interview latino Horror DGA Superheroe TIFF Peacock Heroines mockumentary Video Games Star Wars Logo war Opinion zero dark thirty Trailer Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Syfy finale Amazon Prime Video comiccon game show See It Skip It Awards nature Stephen King aliens game of thrones cancelled Sci-Fi romance SundanceTV crime thriller Turner VICE Rom-Com travel YouTube Premium quibi FXX sitcom witnail OWN dc diversity 20th Century Fox Fall TV crime drama justice league facebook Quiz GLAAD dceu Toys Western disaster Nominations hist Crunchyroll sequel halloween children's TV Countdown true crime Comics on TV ghosts Mindy Kaling Pet Sematary crossover Paramount Network green book Disney discovery Musical Schedule TV renewals Photos E! Pirates Sundance Binge Guide Emmy Nominations anthology Winter TV Fox News Freeform batman casting BET renewed TV shows HBO cooking Disney Plus Reality 2019 slashers RT21 DC Comics 71st Emmy Awards Tarantino Spike Best and Worst President Valentine's Day Superheroes Rock zombie 2018 supernatural Comic Book canceled TV shows DirecTV social media romantic comedy Nickelodeon Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Pride Month Bravo thriller Anna Paquin The Arrangement Extras Awards Tour Character Guide Podcast Pixar 21st Century Fox Lionsgate Song of Ice and Fire Britbox GIFs Paramount Box Office Grammys cats TV El Rey MCU tv talk DC streaming service Women's History Month breaking bad Trivia talk show Winners serial killer boxoffice Adult Swim Summer Lucasfilm adventure 45 24 frames mutant Drama DC Universe Marathons Super Bowl Amazon Comedy TruTV Holidays Masterpiece Election Premiere Dates American Society of Cinematographers TCA spanish language Polls and Games BBC America theme song Year in Review harry potter ABC FOX Country Nat Geo spinoff unscripted award winner First Reviews Teen Writers Guild of America Marvel MTV The CW revenge ABC Family cults foreign First Look PaleyFest Trophy Talk BBC Universal CW Seed cancelled TV series Hulu The Purge Starz Shudder free movies Oscars kids Calendar Watching Series Ovation Vudu 2017 Musicals WGN biography movies book Brie Larson RT History cops Star Trek CBS All Access elevated horror Food Network APB Netflix toy story SXSW TCA 2017 Spring TV canceled transformers Arrowverse Turner Classic Movies Tomatazos spider-man Chernobyl The Walking Dead New York Comic Con Certified Fresh series San Diego Comic-Con spy thriller Showtime TLC YouTube CMT IFC Films TCM Disney streaming service IFC Cosplay Emmys Apple political drama Lifetime animated WarnerMedia 007 science fiction NYCC Ghostbusters jamie lee curtis Comedy Central AMC Spectrum Originals Ellie Kemper docudrama The Witch 2016 Shondaland anime psychological thriller Apple TV+ Christmas cars period drama Rocketman CNN Red Carpet Film Festival doctor who Infographic strong female leads Amazon Prime A&E FX festivals Elton John adaptation binge Cannes