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

spain Sundance ABC Anna Paquin Nickelodeon Holidays El Rey canceled TV shows Marvel Studios DC Universe Kids & Family space Countdown cats IFC Films CBS Disney+ Disney Plus period drama Disney streaming service ITV VH1 Turner Classic Movies Baby Yoda OneApp FOX crime psycho reviews GLAAD spanish language Reality Competition Infographic game of thrones Creative Arts Emmys Rocketman Hallmark hispanic MCU book docudrama streaming Photos theme song Adult Swim cars TCM binge Reality Peacock Food Network 2019 CBS All Access dragons Cosplay ABC Family YouTube romantic comedy Marvel Television Rocky The Arrangement cops Tumblr Star Wars latino 24 frames Teen Family Amazon Prime Video Calendar Oscars First Look talk show FXX Mary poppins cancelled television medical drama Freeform Brie Larson hist Shudder Song of Ice and Fire Spring TV Epix Fall TV Martial Arts Cartoon Network renewed TV shows Quiz name the review MSNBC Awards Tour Apple TV+ Year in Review Hallmark Christmas movies mutant Country spy thriller Election cancelled Avengers adaptation Premiere Dates Lionsgate romance MTV based on movie Spike revenge video GIFs Action strong female leads Ellie Kemper harry potter Tomatazos History Pirates zombie APB GoT Turner mockumentary Musicals Cannes Lifetime HBO comic Lucasfilm Red Carpet discovery Pride Month Disney south america Disney Channel ESPN Super Bowl Writers Guild of America Amazon political drama ratings finale Thanksgiving Dark Horse Comics See It Skip It Pop BBC America doctor who Pet Sematary franchise Sci-Fi Polls and Games CMT E! sag awards VICE The Purge casting E3 Mary Poppins Returns Box Office Comedy Chernobyl TCA Disney Plus Crunchyroll slashers golden globes TV Endgame festivals biography anime Music A24 breaking bad true crime Shondaland LGBTQ Superheroe A&E dceu batman science fiction Character Guide aliens dogs Stephen King X-Men Interview DC Comics DirecTV Apple TV Plus serial killer directors disaster psychological thriller what to watch Black History Month cinemax Heroines Spectrum Originals DGA 2020 Comic Book Netflix Christmas movies Acorn TV Marathons crime drama nature 71st Emmy Awards TNT Apple werewolf singing competition Fox News children's TV Vudu series spider-man Pop TV Winners 45 NBC The CW 20th Century Fox independent Funimation Lifetime Christmas movies versus unscripted comics Britbox green book SXSW USA Toys HBO Max joker movies Warner Bros. Summer Logo award winner Women's History Month christmas movies Comedy Central miniseries Extras Tubi Masterpiece SundanceTV AMC PBS Film historical drama travel WarnerMedia Showtime Sneak Peek NYCC adventure Superheroes New York Comic Con The Walking Dead Opinion Schedule Classic Film politics cancelled TV series spinoff Rock sports movie technology Best and Worst canceled DC streaming service 007 Hulu TCA Winter 2020 supernatural Fantasy Christmas cooking Amazon Studios Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt social media facebook YouTube Red Certified Fresh American Society of Cinematographers Comics on TV screenings FX on Hulu TruTV Chilling Adventures of Sabrina PaleyFest Drama anthology RT21 BET OWN Academy Awards San Diego Comic-Con indie screen actors guild Netflix Sundance TV Emmy Nominations Awards TV renewals cartoon TIFF Winter TV USA Network Mudbound jamie lee curtis cancelled TV shows CNN YouTube Premium sequel Black Mirror SDCC animated kids Grammys Trailer Western Video Games The Witch TV Land cults 2018 crime thriller police drama halloween Animation Esquire comiccon Nat Geo TLC Binge Guide scary movies 21st Century Fox National Geographic toy story Nominations Crackle Watching Series tv talk Columbia Pictures Musical rotten movies we love Ghostbusters Podcast Travel Channel Film Festival Sundance Now zero dark thirty IFC Mary Tyler Moore Syfy Rom-Com 2017 elevated horror witnail richard e. Grant Tarantino 2015 TCA 2017 blockbuster diversity Walt Disney Pictures Universal Arrowverse thriller zombies Captain marvel Valentine's Day blaxploitation war Emmys Starz natural history sitcom Trivia universal monsters TBS documentary 2016 justice league Television Academy dramedy Sony Pictures Horror free movies Star Trek transformers Trophy Talk Paramount Network BBC Amazon Prime First Reviews President dc ghosts Holiday vampires Bravo Ovation composers Biopics CW Seed Discovery Channel Pixar Set visit television foreign Elton John stand-up comedy Mystery WGN Mindy Kaling teaser robots boxoffice reboot Paramount FX crossover LGBT RT History YA quibi Marvel game show