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

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