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

cops Britbox History See It Skip It CBS Action Christmas Nominations NBC Starz blaxploitation SXSW Toys 20th Century Fox MSNBC 2016 zombies Sundance crossover Musical DC streaming service DirecTV Nat Geo Teen X-Men robots golden globes AMC Marathons Watching Series Freeform ESPN FOX Star Wars 2015 YA Columbia Pictures Paramount Super Bowl PBS CW Seed VICE Box Office FXX E! Rocky Creative Arts Emmys Election CBS All Access Country transformers dc Oscars GIFs Fox News LGBTQ dceu OWN TLC Podcast Crackle Tomatazos police drama Lifetime doctor who HBO sitcom 007 Writers Guild of America 21st Century Fox Superheroes cats Schedule Musicals hist TNT President Animation Set visit Amazon dramedy Sony Pictures USA Network travel Shudder Trailer Lionsgate E3 Spike political drama mutant Sneak Peek Walt Disney Pictures Thanksgiving Comics on TV 45 based on movie Martial Arts Rock GoT Esquire aliens Summer TV finale Extras Awards TBS Adult Swim TCM composers 24 frames Acorn TV Video Games Countdown Biopics Polls and Games boxoffice Apple Opinion justice league Interview YouTube Red MTV serial killer unscripted docudrama Drama binge BET what to watch Trivia A&E singing competition Photos discovery Shondaland YouTube Premium RT History Fall TV Winter TV vampires spy thriller Epix Red Carpet ratings Calendar Mindy Kaling historical drama Masterpiece Netflix TCA 2017 PaleyFest TCA crime thriller Warner Bros. Grammys National Geographic Comedy medical drama San Diego Comic-Con biography crime romance IFC Films ABC period drama festivals Sundance Now DC Universe war El Rey Tumblr Syfy DC Comics TruTV NYCC Certified Fresh cinemax streaming USA First Look Year in Review Mystery Reality zombie SDCC politics Lucasfilm Fantasy cults Music Star Trek Rom-Com sports Comedy Central IFC Ghostbusters Cosplay BBC America American Society of Cinematographers Reality Competition thriller Nickelodeon Premiere Dates Best and Worst cooking APB GLAAD Song of Ice and Fire Emmys Pirates New York Comic Con 2017 science fiction TV Land Food Network Superheroe psycho Disney Channel ABC Family Winners social media Hulu Disney Bravo diversity Showtime Logo Cartoon Network Western Holidays Ellie Kemper Ovation ITV SundanceTV crime drama The CW CMT WGN technology Horror VH1 supernatural The Arrangement Infographic Kids & Family Mary Tyler Moore anime Marvel CNN BBC jamie lee curtis Valentine's Day adventure Comic Book Pixar TIFF comiccon harry potter Pop Paramount Network Spring TV Character Guide Sci-Fi talk show Universal FX Dark Horse Comics Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt