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

Walt Disney Pictures Sundance Now marvel cinematic universe IMDb TV summer preview Tokyo Olympics Comedy Broadway Travel Channel FOX Hallmark TLC FX LGBT 24 frames LGBTQ scene in color film series deadpool Sci-Fi 90s Crackle Indigenous ID laika reboot Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Women's History Month Avengers Tarantino Film Festival Fall TV Countdown heist movie Brie Larson talk show CBS scary movies NBA Classic Film Pride Month parents SXSW 2022 2018 best know your critic Best and Worst science fiction royal family nfl cinemax Pacific Islander unscripted ABC Family FX on Hulu reviews Awards Shondaland Premiere Dates YouTube Paramount Plus christmas movies Nat Geo GLAAD Trivia Watching Series art house Stephen King 99% Music Discovery Channel rt archives Amazon Prime Video TV batman Showtime jamie lee curtis Best Actor TV movies 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards gangster Apple DC streaming service biography 2021 aliens discovery OWN CNN cars National Geographic richard e. Grant Pop TV ESPN french sequel Turner Focus Features political drama rotten movies we love GIFs miniseries ghosts young adult Warner Bros. video E3 Video Games Prime Video king kong cancelled television true crime A24 quibi Food Network kids Oscar South by Southwest Film Festival APB Crunchyroll 2016 book Pirates docudrama The Purge golden globes WGN Set visit Hear Us Out Acorn TV HBO Max Ellie Kemper popular The Witch IFC Films The CW ABC toronto movie venice prank Holidays space trophy ViacomCBS target scene in color 71st Emmy Awards emmy awards TNT genre The Walking Dead Western remakes action-comedy crime thriller Extras CMT fast and furious zero dark thirty Writers Guild of America thriller stand-up comedy dogs disaster sports cancelled TV shows travel cults comics Alien Pixar mockumentary hist theme song films 93rd Oscars Musical psychological thriller Mary poppins CBS All Access Martial Arts spinoff twilight Horror directors free movies Dark Horse Comics 2019 Fox News HFPA asian-american Universal mutant television Netflix Christmas movies justice league technology medical drama obi wan spain 2017 SDCC Sony game of thrones sitcom Interview adventure hispanic natural history 21st Century Fox vs. archives fresh 1990s Oscars 45 cats Photos 2020 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic books Neflix sag awards Ovation die hard slasher indiana jones First Reviews Cartoon Network comic book movie Baby Yoda japanese latino vampires a nightmare on elm street psycho scary Action Britbox cooking YouTube Red animated diversity Logo lord of the rings all-time FXX Thanksgiving Holiday Mary Tyler Moore spanish language Comic-Con@Home 2021 Mindy Kaling Paramount Pictures MTV Summer satire Lionsgate strong female leads kaiju NYCC TV renewals zombie police drama Country Film Apple TV+ New York Comic Con kong Mary Poppins Returns south america IFC dreamworks Reality Competition Opinion revenge Wes Anderson MSNBC social media hispanic heritage month cancelled Best Picture doctor who The Arrangement Disney+ Disney Plus Awards Tour razzies olympics Instagram Live Ghostbusters Amazon Studios 73rd Emmy Awards Schedule Star Wars based on movie stop motion canceled Best Director HBO Go Hallmark Christmas movies Fargo what to watch streaming movies halloween book adaptation debate Biopics Anna Paquin TruTV blockbusters Toys cartoon war Academy Awards dc The Academy live action VICE Super Bowl Image Comics mcc Native worst movies comiccon DirecTV Chernobyl wonder woman chucky boxoffice Sundance renewed TV shows adaptation Rock BAFTA 2015 summer TV preview Paramount Elton John elevated horror Turner Classic Movies slashers blockbuster black hidden camera rotten Pet Sematary Character Guide Teen nature telelvision Nickelodeon BBC America crossover Marvel Television joker Mudbound Star Trek YA new york dceu American Society of Cinematographers stoner Amazon harry potter docuseries classics series Christmas 72 Emmy Awards toy story See It Skip It children's TV trailers ratings Television Critics Association Hollywood Foreign Press Association Tumblr news Amazon Prime boxing dexter PBS comedies TBS Election Apple TV Plus TCM Syfy OneApp Disney Plus golden globe awards black comedy 79th Golden Globes Awards facebook football Exclusive Video Starz name the review sopranos serial killer nbcuniversal anime Spike independent Marathons HBO streaming Endgame NBC Cosplay basketball werewolf Nominations Winter TV Comics on TV MGM festivals Star Wars Celebration finale Podcast E! Heroines Quiz Sneak Peek marvel comics First Look Cannes documentaries Tomatazos PaleyFest anthology Rocky Television Academy TCA 2017 Hulu scene in color series A&E sequels obituary screen actors guild Binge Guide foreign Columbia Pictures critic resources aapi Universal Pictures rom-coms singing competition Arrowverse tv talk spanish period drama posters TIFF Lucasfilm BET PlayStation Comedy Central The Walt Disney Company italian Trophy Talk BET Awards superhero interviews 20th Century Fox new zealand Calendar Vudu saw Lifetime TCA Awards AMC Disney streaming service james bond live event Epix Tubi Polls and Games Emmy Nominations dramedy godzilla franchise Shudder Year in Review romantic comedy game show scene in color crime drama feel good canceled TV shows AMC Plus Spring TV streamig Disney Captain marvel leaderboard monster movies spider-man Adult Swim international San Diego Comic-Con critics movies scorecard supernatural Legendary Disney Channel breaking bad Sony Pictures SundanceTV rt labs critics edition Black Mirror Marvel women witnail President VOD Funimation Paramount Network DGA Emmys CW Seed Geeked Week VH1 indie teaser Esquire Masterpiece festival dragons documentary award winner Marvel Studios TV Land Pop MCU Reality broadcast Trailer Song of Ice and Fire king arthur Netflix comic book movies suspense ABC Signature universal monsters australia jurassic park mob RT History Red Carpet casting screenings rt labs Peacock YouTube Premium Superheroes Fox Searchlight Best Actress USA Network Superheroe Musicals 007 Winners historical drama child's play cancelled TV series blaxploitation pirates of the caribbean Family TV One Comic Book japan 94th Oscars Certified Fresh target comic video on demand Rocketman BBC TCA Winter 2020 Fantasy SXSW Drama Rom-Com GoT Black History Month green book cops X-Men Freeform concert DC Universe Animation romance biopic RT21 Kids & Family criterion mission: impossible Valentine's Day Spectrum Originals USA worst crime History adenture versus binge ITV Lifetime Christmas movies halloween tv transformers BBC One legend new star wars movies zombies Sundance TV high school politics WarnerMedia TCA Creative Arts Emmys spider-verse Box Office dark Tags: Comedy hollywood spy thriller composers El Rey Grammys 4/20 summer TV DC Comics Mystery Infographic robots Bravo superman